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ROMPIN: After being stranded on Pulau Tioman for almost two months, Frenchman Catroux Christian, 67, and his wife, Marie Claire, 66, were among 17 foreign tourists who left the island on Friday, taking with them memories of their long stay there. "I expected nothing special on my 67th birthday on May 1, but it turned out to be the sweetest memory that I will cherish forever," said Christian. He said when he heard a knock on his room door in the morning of May 1, he did not think much of it as he was not expecting any guest, and it was too early for hotel staff to do housekeeping. "The knocking didn't stop. When I opened the door, surprise! Hotel staff sang Happy Birthday, and gave me a cake and asked me to blow the candles. It was unexpected and sweet of them to cheer me and my wife up as we felt a little stressed the day before. "We arrived on the island in the middle of March and planned to stay for a week. We had bought tickets to continue our holiday in Jakarta, Bandung and Bali in Indonesia. However, we got stranded on the island when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented," he said at Tanjung Gemok Jetty here on Friday.

He and his wife said they were grateful to be stranded on Tioman as there were no Covid-19 cases on the island. Frenchman Hobert Benjamin, 42, said the MCO allowed him to experience Malaysian hospitality as hotel staff, the authorities and locals tried their best to ensure he got the best care. "Hotel staff would ask about my condition almost every day and told me not to be shy to ask for help if I needed anything. I tried lots of local food, such as nasi kandar, nasi ayam and kuih, thanks to locals who introduced them to me."

Pahang Human Resources, Youth, Sports and Non-Governmental Organisations Committee chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Hussain said the state government provided a speedboat to take the foreign tourists to the mainland before they boarded a bus to Kuala Lumpur. "They've undergone health screenings, including temperature checks, with the state Health Department and only those who are free from Covid-19 symptoms are allowed to leave. --Bernama

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