KOTA KINABALU: Any good father would do his best for his children even if the odds are stacked against him.
Injun Radio is trying to do just that, but since the movement control order started, he has found the going getting tougher.
Two of his four sons, Mohd Irfan Dean, 11, and Mohd Irham Daniel, four, are autistic while six-year-old Mohd Irsyad Denish has asthma. The youngest, two-year-old Mohd Irsyam Zakwan Delvince, is of good health.
With no income coming in for the past four months or so, the 42-year-old tourist van driver has had to depend mostly on his Employees Provident Fund, welfare assistance and donations for the family’s sustenance.
Injun, who hails from Kuala Penyu in southwest Sabah, has not been laid off by his company but is out of work after tourism activities came to a standstill with the closure of the state’s borders to visitors.
And as if that’s not bad enough, he has had to do all this while going through marital issues with his now estranged wife.
He and his boys live in Putatan in a two-room apartment with hardly any piece of furniture. He pays RM700 a month for rent.
He collects RM500 a month from his EPF and a total of RM550 in zakat mualaf (alms for Muslim converts), zakat for his asthmatic son and welfare assistance for Irfan.
He told FMT he was trying to apply for assistance for Irham but was still waiting for his welfare card to be ready. His Socso payment has been overdue for two months.
“Some NGOs and generous individuals have been helping us out, donating food items like rice, eggs, coffee, flour, salt and sugar,” he said.
“But I can barely keep any savings for now because after paying the rent, which includes power and water, and buying diapers, milk powder for my son and some other food items, there’s hardly anything left.”
Injun said his wife, who left for Johor last February to take up a job, would send them whatever little money she could every month, but he still could not afford little luxuries he used to buy for his children, such as crackers and roadside burgers.
“It pains me that I’m not able to do this for my children,” he said. “We also used to go out to the beach or for a stroll in shopping malls on weekends.”
He has tried looking for other jobs.
“I got a job at a 24-hour convenience store but was let go after two days. They told me they couldn’t afford to have part-time workers during the MCO.
“I also applied to become a postal rider but have not received any reply.”
However, he said he had vowed not to let any unhappiness get in the way of doing his best for his children. “I make sure they perform their prayers daily, and I try to make sure their health and welfare are taken of so they can make the most of their lives.”
He also had planned to take a course for tourist guides before the MCO derailed his ambition. “But now I can pursue this due to the easing of the movement restrictions.”
With the reopening of domestic tourism, he is looking forward to being back to work soon.
“So far I’ve not received any call because I think the industry is just restarting, but I hope it will pick up very soon. It’s just really difficult for us now.
“Of course, I am ever grateful to some individuals and NGOs for their generosity, but we can’t depend on them forever. I need to start earning again on my own for the five of us.”
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