Malaysians rush home before new quarantine rule kicks in
Mrs Toh Siew Choo had planned to return to her home in Johor Baru on Sunday.
The 53-year-old, who has been working as a nanny in Singapore, has not seen her family for more than six months.
But like many other Malaysians in Singapore, Mrs Toh quickly changed her plans after the Malaysian government announced this week that Malaysians returning from today will have to serve a 14-day quarantine period at hotels or quarantine centres.
They will also have to bear the full cost of the stay.
Mrs Toh said: "I have been wanting to go back as I miss my family. I would usually have visited them every one or two months.
"I decided to go back earlier so that I can spend more time with them instead of staying at a facility outside."
Malaysians who returned by yesterday will still have to serve quarantine, but they can do so at home provided they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival.
Several other Malaysians who spoke to The Straits Times outside the Woodlands Checkpoint yesterday afternoon said they wanted to avoid getting quarantined at an external facility.
They had heard that the 14-day stay would cost them about RM150 (S$49) daily.
Pictures of long queues on the Causeway outside the Johor Baru checkpoint were uploaded on social media yesterday morning.
One set of pictures showed the queues snaking out onto the road in front of the checkpoint building.
Another photo from a camera tracking traffic in front of the building similarly showed a queue spilling onto the road at about 9.40am.
When ST visited the Woodlands Checkpoint building at about 11.30am, there was a trickle of people entering the immigration area.
Meanwhile, two Malaysians who lost their jobs in Singapore said they decided to return earlier to avoid bearing the cost of staying at a designated quarantine facility.
Former forklift driver Bala Dinesh, 46, who has worked in Singapore for 14 years, said: "I have no money and no place to stay in Singapore.
"How am I going to pay the RM2,000 needed to stay in a quarantine centre with no work?
"But even after I go home, paying the bills and finding work is still going to be a problem."