Malaysia, 1 April 2020 – When the Malaysian government announced the Restricted Movement Order (RMO), parents rushed to get their children who are studying far from home to return immediately for safety reasons. However, a big number of students nationwide were not able to make their exit plan before the announcement and had to stay on campus and depend on their universities during the RMO.
Newstream Asia contacted some students from Malaysian public universities to get their stories.
At Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Melaka, there are about 289 students recorded to be on transit – 85 are on campus, while the rest are non-resident students who live outside of campus.
According to Corporate Communications Coordinator of UiTM Melaka, Akmal Adanan, upon the instructions of Ministry of Higher Education and the Malaysian National Security Council (MKN) to retain students to stay at campus, UiTM management has planned a comprehensive preparation in providing sufficient students’ welfare during their stay.
“Six initiatives have been outlined including providing a central and comfortable dorm, food for students, availability of health services and another three initiatives. We want to ensure that students’ welfare is well taken care of at all times and parents should not be worried about their children’s safety while on transit,” he said.
Jackleyn Stanis, a Mass Communications student at UiTM Melaka – Alor Gajah Campus said, there are only about 50 students on her campus who are on transit during this RMO period. The 21-year old Sabahan hoped that all UiTM students nationwide should stay positive while on quarantine and to give full cooperation to the university management and authorities.
“UiTM provides four meals per day for us here. Once we have taken the food, we will return to our rooms to eat it. We are not allowed to gather together at the dining area for safety reasons. When we need to buy some basic necessities, our Resident Staff (hostel warden) will help us to get the items so we do not have to travel on our own,” she added.
During this period, the students and Resident Staff communicate through a Whatsapp group to ensure everybody receives updates regularly. Jackleyn also said, the students are not allowed to gather nor use the common room and sports facilities to abide by the RMO protocol. Most of the students stay indoors to study and watch their favourite shows online.
Although the university provides weekly cleaning and sanitizing services on campus, but the students there still practise extra cleanliness measures to ensure their health and safety while on transit.
Meanwhile at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), there are about 4,000 students reported to be on transit, with 3,000 in Kota Kinabalu Campus. According to Idzrul Nabil Luqman Khairulna Fuzi, 23, an Engineering student who is also part of the Students Representative Council, even before the RMO was announced, UMS has taken steps to conduct classes via e-learning to reduce the risks of Covid-19.
The university is also providing RM15 food allowance in cash per day for each student on transit which can be collected at their respective residential college.During the RMO, the on-campus cafeteria and shops continue to operate so the students can buy food and basic necessities without having to leave the campus.
“Our university is also grateful for all donations received from government bodies, political parties, Baitulmal, corporations and individuals during this testing time, he said. “As part of the Students Representative Council, we assist the university management by getting data of students who need assistance in terms of food and basic necessities especially for the non-resident students,” he added.
Although the students are still allowed to leave their residential college for sports activities such as cycling and jogging, they are advised to abide by the social distancing requirement when outdoors. However, he urged the students to remain indoor most of the time to avoid the spread Covid 19.
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