Frontliner dads doing duty to keep their children safe

Mohammad Lili showing a picture of his three-year-old daughter Raesya Azahara when met at the quarantine centre in Tanjung Bungah. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

THERE is almost nothing a father will not do for his children and in the case of fathers who are frontliners, it sometimes means keeping a distance from their children for their own good.

Lieutenant Mohammad Lili Mat Ibrahim, 28, who is stationed at a quarantine centre in Penang, last held his daughter two months ago and missed her dearly this Fathers Day.

“She is three and is fast picking up all the things we teach her.

“It would have been nice to go home because prior to the movement control order, I would go back home to Kepala Batas on the weekends.

“When the lockdown was implemented, I didn’t think it would be safe to leave my family alone in Kepala Batas so I sent my wife and daughter to Perak to be with other family members.

“I stayed back at the quarantine centre here,” said Mohammad Lili, who supervises the centre set up at a hotel in Tanjung Bungah.

Mohammad Lili, who works for the Malaysian Civil Defence Force, said he keeps in touch with his family through video calls.

“I call them daily because I miss them but I know being separated is safest for them right now.

“As I am stationed here, there is always a fear that I might be exposed to the virus and spread it to my family.

“As a father, it is my duty to keep my daughter safe even if it means from me,” he said.

Mohammad Lili said since he began his duties at the quarantine centre, he had been constantly worried about exposure.

“We have been lucky that no one on duty here has tested positive but it is still a gamble.

“Not seeing my family is a price I am willing to pay as long as they are safe,” he said,

Inspector Mohd Rezan Yussop, 34, says returning home to both his toddlers is highly risky.

“I am stationed at this centre and work at the police station in Tanjung Tokong as well.

“When you have a two-year-old and three-year-old, it is difficult to keep away from them as you want to carry or cuddle them.

“I usually shower at the police station or make sure I have sprayed myself with disinfectant before I head home.

“Naturally, we are afraid but it is our duty to serve,” he said.

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo visited the centre on Sunday to give out rations and face masks to frontliners.

Jagdeep said the hotel was converted to a quarantine centre in July last year and since then has seen 2,719 persons-under-surveillance (PUS) there.

“The centre has never had a Covid-19 positive case and is now housing 170 PUS.

“The centre is for those coming from overseas who are required to be quarantined for 14 days and sometimes 21 days depending on the country they are from,” he said.

It charges RM150 per day with three meals included but those in the B40 category can apply to see if they are eligible for the charges to be waived.

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frontliners , children , Fathers Day


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