GEORGE TOWN: Hari Raya this year will definitely be special for Razia Abdullah who will be flying from the United States to be with her family after not seeing them for nearly three years.

The 39-year-old lecturer based in California said she immediately booked a flight to Kuala Lumpur when the Malaysian government announced its borders were opening on April 1.

“I will be arriving on April 25 to see my parents who are staying with my brother and his wife. I will spend Hari Raya with them in Kuala Lumpur before going back to the US on May 15,” she said.

Razia added that besides the Hari Raya celebrations with loved ones, she was also looking forward to meeting her niece who was born during the pandemic.

“We have also planned a vacation to Pulau Perhentian, which I’m really looking forward to.

“I also want to visit the Ramadan bazaars to buy all the food I’ve been missing so much, like otak-otak, laksa, murtabak and apam balik,” she said excitedly.

Razia said that she would be taking every precaution by wearing a face mask, washing her hands often and avoiding places with large crowds.

“I received my booster shot in December last year, so I’m hoping all will be good,” she added.

Razia said she downloaded the MySejahtera app, uploaded her vaccination information and purchased Covid-19 travel insurance before arriving in Malaysia too.

Rafidah Abdul Karim, 42, who is assistant vice-president at a transportation company in Penang, said she can’t wait to celebrate Hari Raya with her family, especially her grandmother in Kuala Lumpur.

“Coming from a close-knit family, and with my father having 10 siblings, I’m expecting the reunion this year to be joyful.

“As the journey to my hometown in Seri Kembangan will take around five hours, the trip has to be planned carefully as my mother – a stroke patient – is bedridden and needs extra care for travel,” she said.

On April 16, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would stick to its plan to allow Malaysians to balik kampung for Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

He said he told everyone he met to celebrate Aidilfitri with their families after two years of not returning to their hometowns and villages following the implementation of the movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19.