Malaysians stranded in Bali take predicament in stride

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Some Malaysians still in Bali, Indonesia said they are not alarmed about the possibility of Mount Agung erupting, despite the ominous tone of media reports.

With tourists reported of being homesick and missing work, some Malaysian students in Universitas Udayana are even looking forward to a possible evacuation.

Medical student Amylynn Rebecca Nathan, 25, told Malay Mail Online that the 155 Malaysian students there have been briefed about evacuation procedures by Education Malaysia-Indonesia (EMI) representatives.

“We were told to pack an emergency bag containing basic items like our passport, change of clothes, dried food like biscuits and water. My bag is already ready by the front door. We’re quite excited if we get to be evacuated,” said the student association vice president.

Fellow student and head of the student association, Tham Hong Yuan, said the Denpasar campus was more than 50km away from Mount Agung and designated as a “safe zone”.

While Mount Agung has disrupted hundreds of flights and left nearly 100,000 travellers stranded, Tham said the extent witnessed by the students has been some volcanic ash and minor tremors.

Former Miss Malaysia Emmeline Ng said that despite her initial fear, the situation appeared to have returned to normal in Bali.

“A local I spoke to said she’s more concerned about the people living closer to the mountain as the eruption is unpredictable. Lava could be an issue, homes affected. Jobs also could be lost.

“However closer to Seminyak, it hasn’t affected her life, Ng said from her current location, which was similarly designated as safe.

The 2005 beauty queen, who was alone for her short visit, said some Malaysian friends she bumped into were more stressed about not being able to head home for work and family commitments.

She said Malaysia Airlines updated her daily via email, but offered no compensation beyond replacing her cancelled flight.

Aside from the airport, those who must leave for home still have the option of travelling to the nearest airport in Surabaya by sea and land, although the journey is about 12 hours long.

Both Ng and auditor Denise Teh said they were keeping that option as a fallback.

Hailing from Malaysia but working in Perth, Australia, Teh said she was attending a friend’s wedding when the Indonesian authorities closed Ngurah Rai International Airport three days ago due to volcanic ash.

“We’re just frustrated because our work got thrown off schedule,” she said.

Both said they have neither contacted the Malaysian Consulate in Denpasar or embassy in Jakarta, nor have they been contacted by either.

Teh said she did not feel it necessary while Ng said it did not occur to her to do so.

Indonesian authorities announced today that the Ngurah International Airport has been reopened. – Themalaymailonline