KUALA LUMPUR: The family of a Rohingya boy with hydrocephalus, found begging for funds for his operation, was apparently trying to make some extra money.
According to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital the money needed for his surgery has already been paid.
And the Good Samaritan who raised the funds is shocked that the Rohingya family had resorted to begging.
The HKL refuted claims by the family of Mohamad Yasin Mohammed Rafique that they were forced to beg at the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to finance the cost of surgery for their 10-month-old son.
Yasin suffers from hydrocephalus, where cerebrospinal fluid builds up in the brain, causing the head to swell.
The New Straits Times quoted a HKL spokesperson as saying the total cost of surgery and follow-up treatment for a year for the boy had already been funded by a group of donors.
“The estimated cost of surgery to drain fluid away from the brain of the boy is about RM8,800, excluding one year of outpatient treatment.
“This patient is recognised by the UNHCR so the family is entitled to a 50% discount off the total cost.”
The spokesperson added that the family would not have to pay a single sen as donors had stepped forward to pay the costs.
The HKL spokesperson also said the baby was not in a life-threatening condition and that some charity groups had expressed interest in supporting the child, according to the NST report.
It was earlier reported that the family had resorted to begging for money from passers-by at the TBS as they were racing against time to raise money for the baby’s operation, slated for July 3.
Yasin developed the condition, which caused his head to swell to a circumference of 75cm, when he was five-months-old.
Meanwhile, the volunteer who first got to know about the family’s so-called plight said she was shocked to read about them begging.
Mary Ann Dennis told the NST: “I have visited this family personally after the UNHCR got in touch with us.
“My husband and I accompanied the parents when Yasin was in hospital on June 14. We have paid the deposit required for admission and surgery. The family need not pay a single sen.”
Mary Ann said she had raised RM15,800 since the fundraiser started in May. The fund will cover the surgery cost and one year of outpatient treatment for Yasin.
She said the doctor had advised Yasin to be confined at home, as he was on antibiotics for two weeks before the surgery.
“We were shocked to see them begging on the street. When the father (Zubair Mohammad Nur, 24) was confronted by us, he said he begged in an attempt to get more money for Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations,” she was quoted as saying by the NST.