April 22, 2008
A FAMILY of seven in Bukit Mertajam, Penang, who has been enduring poor living conditions for the past six years, will receive monthly financial assistance from the state Welfare Department.
Deputy Chief Minister I and Penanti assemblyman Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin said he had directed the department to give factory worker Mat Zuki Othman, 36, and his family RM450 every month.
“The family has been living without pro- per electricity and water supply in their wooden house in Kuala Mengkuang for about six years.
“The water they get from the village well to drink, cook and wash is dirty,” he told reporters after opening McDonald’s new Drive-Thru in Farlim, Penang, on Saturday.
Fairus, who had earlier in the day visited Mat Zuki and his family, said he had also informed Pusat Urus Zakat to oversee the building of a new house for the family apart from working out additional financial assistance needed by them.
Earning a meagre monthly income of about RM700, Mat Zuki had been struggling to provide for his partially blind wife Roziah Hashim, 36, and five young children, aged between 18 months and eight years.
He said his neighbour recently let him tap his electricity for his home’s living room light which was the only electrical appliance in the house.
“I earn a little extra by repairing radios, phones and other electrical devices for friends and neighbours. There are days when there is nothing to fix at all.
“I cannot take up any heavy jobs because I suffered from hole-in-the-heart disease. I underwent surgery when I was 15.
“Since then, I have been warned against taking heavy jobs that might cause my heart problem to return,” he explained, adding that his wife also failed to get jobs due to her eyesight problem.
Fairus said he would make sure Mat Zuki's two children of school-going age receive access to education.
He also said he would speak to state Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh on the family’s plight.