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Kota Kinabalu
Sabtu, September 30, 2023

Pockets of urban poverty prevail in Tawau, says MP

Liew (left) with single mother Fong at her home in Sri Tanjung.

TAWAU: Pockets of urban poverty still prevail in Sri Tanjung, Apas and Balung here, said Tawau MP Datuk Christina Liew.

She said presently, many landless families are squatting on other people’s land or renting houses. Those living in poverty include widows, single mothers, persons with disabilities and self-employed individuals who are rendered jobless by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have asked the Tawau Parliamentary People’s Service Centre to assist deserving cases in applying for the necessary assistance from the government. I hope the relevant authorities will duly consider applications for welfare aid from single mothers and  household heads who are unemployed due to their medical condition,” Liew told reporters after visiting poor families from the B40 category to hand over food baskets to them, recently.

At Kg Tinagat in Apas, housewife Yong Khyun Kyau, 48, lamented that her husband Tai Kim Siong, 48, is no longer the family’s breadwinner. Tai, an ex-lorry driver, is now disabled due to a skin ailment. “We are squatting  on other people’s land, and this is a rented kampung house. We will be homeless if the landlord decides to sell off his farm one day,” Yong told the Tawau MP who suggested that the family apply for a home under the People’s Housing Project (PPR).

Liew (2nd right) talking to widow Wu at her home at Kg Ranggu in Balung.

Tenom-born Wu Fook Yin, 58, who has six children, was a farmer in her younger days together with her husband who died in September this year. The family is living in a relative’s house at Kg Ranggu in Balung. Now looking after a grandchild, she is struggling to make ends meet. “I look forward to receiving some welfare aid through our elected representative,” Wu said.

Widow Chong Nyet Moi, 66, who was involved in farm work previously, said the Covid-19 pandemic has affected her chances of getting another job that suits her age. The mother of five, who is staying with relatives at Kg Tinagat, Apas, hoped the Tawau MP would contribute some plywood for repair of her eldest son’s home. “We are landless people, and my son is not earning a stable income at the moment,” she said.

Disabed Tai (left) with wife Yong after receiving food aid from Liew at Kg Tinagat in Apas.

Meanwhile, Liew visited the home of a single mother who has two school-going children aged eight and nine. Thirty-three-year-old Fong Mei Jin related how floods claimed the life of her husband while working as a driver at a plantation six years ago.

“We will help you apply for some welfare assistance under the General Assistance Scheme (commonly known as Bantuan Am),” Liew assured her.