KOTA KINABALU, May 8 — Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) students have expressed their happiness and excitement after they are allowed to return to their respective hometowns to celebrate the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri with their families.
Most of those met at the UMS Balik Raya Student Programme at the UMS parade ground today, were thankful to the government, especially the Higher Education Ministry, for permitting the movement of the students.
Mohd Azman Amran said the opportunity to return to his hometown, let alone during the festive season, was indeed a moment to look forward to as he had missed his family the most.
“I am very grateful because not everyone gets an opportunity like this to go home for Hari Raya and celebrate with their families. Of course, I miss my family in the village and to make lemang (glutinous rice cooked in bamboo) and ketupat (rice cake) with my mother in the backyard,” said the 21-year-old student who hails from Negeri Sembilan.
Another UMS student, Awg Azreezan Awg Kasim from Tawau, also did not expect that the students would be allowed to return to their hometown and described it as a golden opportunity for he had not met his family for some time.
“Previously, we stayed on the campus and could not meet our families, so when we are allowed to return home, it will be a joyful event for us,” he said.
Both Mohd Azman and Awg Azreezan are among 2,000 UMS students expected to return to their hometowns in conjunction with the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration from May 7 to 12.
Meanwhile, UMS vice-chancellor Datuk Taufiz Yap Yun Hin said the university had prepared various initiatives to ease the movement of the students including providing rental buses and shuttle services that travel back and forth twice a day to the airport.
“We also distribute face masks, hand sanitisers, and food for students before all students return home,” he said, adding a total of 4,500 students have opted to remain on campus during the Hari Raya holiday period.
Taufiq assured that the university would look after the students’ welfare by providing food and ensuring their safety.