TAWAU: Over 50 families from Kampung Hidayat, Batu 4 Jalan Apas here have endured the fasting period while still living in tents after their homes were destroyed in a fire nearly a year ago.
The families – among the 1,500 victims affected by the fire on July 1, 2017 involving more than 250 houses – are also expected to celebrate Raya the same way.
Despite the unpredictable weather and uncomfortable condition of living in the tents provided by the authorities, the villagers made efforts to follow the routine of the fasting month while preparing for Raya.
It was learnt that the villagers had been adopting camping-style living as they could not afford to rent or build a new house, besides waiting for PPRT (the hardcore poor people’s housing project) units as promised by the previous administration.
One of them, Jausi Mohamad, 49, who lives with her husband and five children in the tent said it was the family’s first experience celebrating Ramadhan in camp due to limited financial which did not allow them to build a new home.
“There is no special menu for breaking of fast and sahur (pre-dawn meal).
“I prepare dishes based on what we can afford and fortunately, our children are not picky and they understand our current situation,” she said.
Another fire victim Ahirah Amirul, 33, said the families were left with no choice but to adapt to the stress living in the cramped site.
The family of six did not prepare much for Raya this year, which is only days away, as Ahirah’s husband, who is the breadwinner, works as a labourer without fixed income.
“I am sad because our four children who are still attending school kept asking for new Raya clothes.
“They however accepted that we can’t afford much now and my husband persuaded them to focus on studies instead,” said Ahirah.
Meanwhile, Persatuan Kebajikan Anak Leluhur Negeri Sabah (Perkalas) coordinator Kahar Hussien, who presented aid to the families during a visit said he hoped the assistance in the form of daily essentials and food for break fast would help reduce their burden during Ramadan.
“Perkalas, as a voluntary body, has been visiting and rendering assistance to them almost every month.
“But we hope relevant authorities in the government can act fast to help this group and provide them with better living conditions,” he said.– New Straits Times