An elderly couple has been living in a hut built with recycled materials on the banks of Sungai Masai for the past three years after they could not afford to pay rent.
According to Harian Metro, 69-year-old Shuib Alna and his wife, 61-year-old Sarimah Shaari, have been relying on monthly assistance of RM500 from the Department of Social Welfare and farming in the residential area for food sources.
Getting by with the little they have
Shuib’s life changed after a road accident four years ago, leaving him unfit to work. His unemployment was also exacerbated by his old age.
As for Sarimah, she suffers from high blood pressure and lost her source of income as an onion peeler after moving into the hut.
“I catch fishes in Sungai Masai using my net and we rely on rainwater, the river, and sometimes clean water supply from the nearby flat residents who sympathize with us.
It’s not that we want to intentionally live here. It’s because I’m not able to afford rent in this area, which costs RM500 to RM600,” said Shuib.
The couple, who hail from Semporna, Sabah, have a daughter who is married and currently lives with her husband in Singapore.
During their three years of living in the hut, the couple have experienced floods, storms, lightning, and venomous reptiles.
“We’re grateful that we never go hungry because plants can always be used as a dish. However, during heavy rain or scorching heat, we take shelter under a nearby flat’s basement. At night, we light up the hut with candlelight,” said Sarimah.
Better times in the past
She also recounted sadly how merry the atmosphere was when she celebrated Eid four years ago in better circumstances.
“During the previous Eid, our situation was good, where we had Eid pastries on display, curtains, and a sofa to sit on.
“Now, only God knows what our situation is without electricity and water. But whatever it is, we accept it as a challenge from Him,” she said.
Meanwhile, the Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ) said they had visited the elderly couple’s hut before Aidilfitri and donated some goods and necessities for their use. They are also in the process of obtaining a house for the couple.
Anyone who wishes to make a donation can do so through Sarimah’s bank account, 151240304841 (Maybank), or contact them at 011-36813569.
Watch a video of the couple’s hut here:
Cover image via Metro TV