KUALA LUMPUR: Most city folk started their homeward journey to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The balik kampung rush began as early as Saturday, with the Middle Ring Road 2 Highway and Sungai Besi toll plaza jammed with vehicles early in the day.
All the other highways are expected to experience traffic snarls as the Year of the Rabbit draws closer.
“Chinese New Year falls on Thursday. Since I got the weekend off and with Tuesday being a public holiday (FT Day), I decided to drive back to Johor Baru earlier to avoid a last-minute rush,” said motorist Raziq Rahman, 29.
The IT executive, who recently got married, said he had applied for leave on Monday and Wednesday so he could have a longer break and spend more time with his wife who is a teacher at his hometown.
“I think I am more excited than any Chinese, even though I am not celebrating the festival. I’m looking forward to seeing my wife and family,” he said.
The temporary Bukit Jalil bus terminal was packed and busy as expected, with those intending to travel north queuing up for tickets.
Management trainee Greg Wong, 22, who was going back to Malacca, said he bought an express bus ticket almost a month ago as he was afraid that tickets would be sold out.
“Although I drive in KL, I always take the bus home during the Chinese New Year season. It is convenient for me because I can just relax during the journey which takes about an hour and a half,” he said.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said plainclothes Road Transport Department officers boarded 656 express buses and issued 257 summonses to 177 drivers for various offences from Jan 7 to 27.
He said the offences included speeding, illegal overtaking and using mobile phones while driving.
Kong said 1,141 buses were checked during Ops Bas Persiaran in the same period with 282 summonses issued to 206 bus drivers.
The offences included driving without licence, overloading, illegal modification and not having a tour guide.
“We currently have undercover officers posing as passengers. We also set up roadblocks at the highway rest areas to conduct spot checks on buses,” he said, adding that 3,500 officers would be deployed nationwide for Ops Bersepadu from Jan 21 to Feb 20.
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