Frustration boils as packed crowd greets Sibu NRD office reopening

The long queue outside the NRD office at the Central Market UTC.

SIBU, June 15: Frustration was palpable and adherence to social distancing nowhere in sight as a massive queue formed outside the NRD office at the Central Market UTC here today.

The crowd had already started to form as early as 7am.

The National Registration Department (NRD) office reopened today at 8am after three months of closure due to restricted movement orders to curb the spread of Covid-19 which started on March 18.

The crowd was so big that it took hours to have an application processed.

E-hailing driver, Darren Ngu, 54, almost lost his temper as he had to wait almost three hours just to obtain a queue number despite arriving at 8.30am.

His queue number was ’60’ but by 12.40pm, the department had only served 25 people.

“I am here to apply for a new birth certificate. When I arrived at UTC at 8.30am, the corridor leading to the department was already jam-packed with people,” he said, adding it was standing room only with people shoulder-to-shoulder due to limited space.

“There is hardly any social distancing but people have no choice except to wait long hours for their turn in the queue,” he said.

He observed that security guards at the location were unable to do much to ensure social distancing as the crowd was simply too big.

“One thing good is that everybody is wearing face masks as they know that without it, they are not allowed to enter (the office). Everybody also has their hands sprayed with sanitiser by the guards,” he said.

Ngu said he had no choice but to not take on any e-hailing jobs until his affairs at the NRD office are settled.

“What should I do? If I go back now, I still have to come back again the next few days and there is no guarantee that the crowd will be thinner,” he said. — DayakDaily