Human Writes: Helping those hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in Malaysia

A group of volunteers (in white shirts) handing out food to foreign construction workers in George Town, Penang, in April 2020. Daily wage earners like construction workers who could not work during Malaysia's lockdown period had to depend on handouts to survive. Foreign workers had it especially hard as they are not eligible for government aid. — MUSTAFA AHMAD/The Star

She was only 18 and struggling to survive in Kelantan. Her mother had died, her father had lost his job and there were two younger sisters. She got help to pay the rent, but then the landlord asked for an extra RM1,000 even though they had previously agreed it would be paid in two weeks. He wanted to buy a cow to slaughter for korban (sacrifice) for the villagers for the upcoming Hari Raya Haji festival on July 31, 2020.

“When she refused to pay, he wanted to kick the family out. I had to find the money in two days, ” says Datuk Dr Hartini Zainuddin, founder of Yayasan Chow Kit, a crisis and drop-in centre for children that provides a range of services, including legal, financial, educational and counselling services.

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Mangai Balasegaram , Covid-19 , economy , poverty


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