As I approached the passport check I joined a queue for home quarantine desk. As I queued an Indian family in front of me were being attended to. The father say in the chair with his papers whilst his wife and daughter looked over his shoulder. There was only one chair per desk. I looked over at the other desks and a middle aged Western couple went up to their desk. The husband offered the chair to his wife and stood sorting out the paper work with her.
At each stage of immigration I’m asked the same questions, details of my wife, vaccination status etc. They all busily type in the same information into the computer, I assume the same record on the database.
My home quarantine paperwork is checked and I’m given a digital tracker lanyard. So far, my paperwork is correct. I have seven days quarantine with PCR test on the fifth and release on the eighth as long as I’m negative and assessed as safe.
There was a separate channel I’d passed by which looked like for people who had not completed their quarantine application. It’s going to be a long night for them.
The next step was my PCR test. I assume as I had that on day I arrived and no one has come looking for me I was negative. The PCR test takes a minute. Here I’m right next to the lady sticking the stick in my mouth and nose. Two weeks ago I took the PCR test done by the NHS in the UK and they stand outside the cubicle and ask you to do it yourself.
I then went to the payment desk. How many people does it take to receive a payment? It may only need one at Primark but here it takes three: one gentleman to takes my form and money, another to count the money again, put it in a good old fashioned cash box, and a third to write the receipt and record it on a sheet. Then back to the first gentleman to hand me my receipt.
I’m then guided to an immigration desk where there are three immigration officers. I think that is who they are. They wear uniforms with stripes so they could be military. That is not for me to know. They check my passport (they all do) and my Permission To Enter Malaysia form and send need on my way.
But I still have to go to an actual Immigration office, an office, where the woman takes my Permission To Enter Malaysia form and stamps my passport for 90 days entry.
The normal Passport check is relegated to checking the stamp and I’m on my way. But there is still more to do. I now have to pick up my digital tracker wristband.
This is a recent change to the process. I believe before it was merely like a hospital style band. Now I’m tagged. It’s quite a faff. The woman spends a few minutes trying to synchronise my wrist watch style tag with this heavy box which I put in my home. What would happen if I went for a walk and took the box with me?
I’m pleased with myself. I’ve navigated every stage in the immigration process successfully. It started scarily with needing help to know what to do on the mysejahtera app but was straightforward after that. I’m now tagged like how criminals are. Free to stay in one place for seven days. Only with permission on the fifth for the PCR test can I leave my home.
But then, as I wander off to search my luggage I realise I’ve left my hand luggage suitcase behind. A kind gentleman from the digital wristband desk finds me and I am reunited with my clothes and whisky. A scary moment. I’ve left my house and car keys behind at an airport passport desk before.
So the whole process of gaining entry into Malaysia as a non-business foreigner during the coronavirus Pandemic took two hours. I know foreign business owners are fast tracked. Regulations for Malaysian nationals are less than what I’ve been through as they don’t need permission to enter the country. So there are different categories even though Coronavirus does not discriminate between them.
By this time I’m at luggage reclaim. Nothing on the board. Lots of luggage by their carousels across the hall. Eventually after asking a few nice members of staff I happen across another group of luggage bags or to one side and find mine.
At no point had anyone asked me about travel insurance although I’m led to believe I need it as part of my immigration. So some things are less clear. I was asked by at one of the desks about my authorised taxi to my home quarantine. Another document in my folder. My taxi driver has patiently waited for two hours in her taxi to collect me. She has to wear the full hazmat style suit. Another 45 minutes and I’ve finally reached home.