MALACCA: Taking a midnight bath in the open have been the norm for a 44-year-old mother and her four daughters as the darkness provided cover from “peeping toms”.
K. Saroja and her four daughters, K. Agateya, 10, nine-year-old Kartiga, seven-year-old Durgasini and six-year-old Dewisini have been taking baths at a makeshift bathroom zinc fronting Jalan Ujong Pasir, near Ujong Pasir Government clinic here for the past three months.
Her only son Karthirsan, eight, is not shy to bathe in the day while the whole family is forced to use the toilet at a nearby petrol kiosk as their home, a size of a storeroom, has no facility to answer nature’s call.
Saroja shifted to Ujong Pasir after losing her job as an odd-job labourer in Rembia, Alor Gajah when her leg became swollen due to a hit-and-run accident in July, last year.
“I underwent several surgeries and doctors have implanted plates in both my legs which cause excruciating pain each time it rains or in extreme hot weather,” she said when met at her home, yesterday.
Saroja said her husband M. Kartigateeban, 54, is also partially immobilised due to three previous accidents that caused him to lose his job in 2014.
“My husband is unable to work and I am the sole breadwinner surviving on RM300 monthly aid from the Welfare Department and money earned from cleaning houses at nearby housing estates,” she said.
Saroja decided to leave Rembia with a hope of seeking greener pasture and had no choice but to rent the wooden section of a house shared with another family for a monthly rental of RM200.
“There is no kitchen, toilet or living room just a space a big as a store room where all seven of us cramp in a small space to sleep.
“I do my cooking and bathing in the open as there is no toilet facility for us after midnight once the petrol kiosk closes for the day,” she said.
Despite her financial constraints, Saroja makes it a point to send her four children to a vernacular school on her husband’s motorcycle.
State Public Affairs, Human Resources and NGO Affairs committee chairman Datuk M.S. Mahadevan said the plight of the family has been already brought to the attention of the State Housing board.
“We are arranging for them to stay at an affordable home in Kampung Padang here and expect it to be ready by this month.
“The state has also made arrangement for all the children's schooling expenses including their bus fares, while additional help is also being looked by Malacca's Barisan Nasional’s social service centre (Pembela) director Amir Hamzah Aziz," he added.
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