KANGAR: A two-year lockdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus has stopped a Malaysian woman living in Hat Yai from visiting her mother in Padang Besar on a weekly basis.
Li Ya Feng, 58, has no choice but to rely on friends and neighbors in Padang Besar to take care of her 79-year-old mother Wu Gan Mei, who lives by herself, for close to two years as her siblings are staying in Johor.
Li finally managed to return to Padang Besar with her daughter Huang Hui Xian, 25, on May 22 after she settled their travel documents and paid the fines of 7,500 baht (RM961) each for overstaying in Thailand with expired border passes.
Li hugged her mother in tears of joy seeing her again after two years.
Li said she used to commute between Hat Yai and Padang Besar two to three times a week to visit her mother prior to the lockdown.
She used to buy groceries for her mother and never missed her mother’s birthday, Chinese New Year and other festive celebrations.
She had to rely on video calls on WeChat to communicate with her mother during the lockdown.
Friends and relatives in Padang Besar helped to take care of her mother in her absence.
“Apart from buying groceries for my mother, they also bought cakes to celebrate her birthday and other festive occasions. They also took my mother for vaccination,” she said.
Wu grows vegetables in the morning and sews in the afternoon to keep herself occupied during the lockdown.
Li and her daughter went back to Hat Yai on March 17, 2020 with their border passes while her two sons and husband were using international passports with valid work permits.
Their border passes expired during the lockdown.
“I am thankful that Teh Seng Chuan has helped us sort out the travel documents,” said Li, who has also had her passport renewed.
Perlis DAP chairman Teh Seng Chuan informed Malaysians holding Thai border passes that the Thailand authorities have relaxed the regulations on expired border passes beginning May 8.
Malaysians with expired border passes will be fined 500 baht per day beginning May 8 and they will not be blacklisted by Thai immigration.
Once their border passes are renewed and the fines settled, they will be allowed to enter Thailand again.
Teh has so far helped five Malaysians return to the country after settling their fines.
(Video provided by Li’s daughter)