Saturday, July 11

S’wakian stranded in Nigeria longs for family, food, ‘aroma of rainforest’

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Malcolm Goh

SIBU: Malcolm Goh, one of ten Sarawakians stranded in Nigeria due to the country’s Covid-19 restrictions, is in high spirits even though there is no confirmation yet from the Malaysian High Commission (MHC) on when he can go home.

The 39-year-old from Kuching disclosed that they have only been informed that flights are being sorted out.

“No word on the actual date yet,” he told The Borneo Post via WhatsApp today.

“We (have) been in touch (with the commission) since early April. They have been planning since April too, but nothing fruitful. So, I decided to send out my plea (via Facebook),” added Goh.

Asked what he missed back home in Sarawak, Goh said he missed his family, the food, the people and the “aroma of rainforest.”

“Yes, our ‘bahasa’ (language), our Iban, our Hokkien, our Foochow, Hakka. I miss those voices around me (too).”

Goh said this was his first trip to Nigeria.

“I am a subsea inspection engineer on this trip and was an offshore diver for the past 12 years. Still doing diving though, if the offer is there,” he said.

He added that while in Nigeria, they were well taken care of by their employer.

“Our employer is kind enough to foot our bill. We are well taken care off,” he said when asked if he has adequate food and other essentials.

Goh said they have been staying at the company’s quarters ever since the lockdown was declared in Nigeria.

He, however, noted enforcement there has not been so tight as people could still be seen wandering around the street.

“So not wanting to risk ourselves (we just stay indoors).”

According to Goh, the other Sarawakians stranded in the country are from different companies and working in different places.

“I know some are from Sibu, Kapit and Julau, mostly working in oil and gas business,” he said.

Asked if the weather at this time was very hot in Nigeria, he said it was the same as Malaysia.

The issue of the ten Sarawakians being stranded in Nigeria came to light when Goh pleaded with the Malaysian government for help getting home on Facebook.

Goh had said he was among 30 Malaysians who have not been able to return to Malaysia after all flights were cancelled following the closure of Lagos Airport.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas yesterday said the Sarawak government would help the stranded Sarawakians, adding that the state was waiting for the federal government’s decision on the matter.

“We are very concerned about the welfare of our people wherever they are and I have communicated with Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar on the matter.

“He will be bringing this issue up to Cabinet because of the 30 Malaysians stranded in Nigeria, ten are from Sarawak.

“We will follow whatever measures or action which will be taken by the federal government on this matter,” he said at the state’s daily Covid-19 press conference in Kuching.