SANDAKAN: Helping out the less fortunate is a calling for Yunizam Yusop, who founded an initiative to provide free hearse van and hospital transport services to underprivileged communities here.
Known as Abam Botak, the 31-year-old entrepreneur and his crew members even spent Hari Raya Haji this year helping five families transport the bodies of their loved ones from the hospital to their respective homes.
"Once during the weekend, someone called me up and asked for assistance to find a hearse van.
"I tried looking everywhere, but the ones that were available were too expensive. So instead, I asked him if it was all right to use a lorry to transport the body of his loved one.
"After helping him, I realised how difficult it was to find a hearse van service that was affordable.
"From this experience, I was inspired to start a free hearse van service in October 2018 to help those from underprivileged communities, " he said.
Having provided free transport to hospitals patients since 2017, it did not take long for Abam Botak to get into the groove of things.
According to him, he generates funds to sustain the services through his two ventures - a religious learning centre for children as well as construction work.
Abam Botak also receives donations from his friends and the public to run the services which are available 24 hours.
Now that he is kept busy with the hearse van initiative, Abam Botak has handed over the responsibility to run the free hospital transport service to his mentee Mohamad Kadir Abdul Jalil, 23.
Mohamad Kadir, known as Wan, said he had learnt a lot from Abam Botak ever since they met during a programme to feed the homeless in 2015.
"Many Sandakan folks need help because they don't have the money to get to hospital.
"Out of humanitarian reasons, we started providing free transport for patients to get treatment.
"We get three to five requests a day, " he said.
Besides crowdfunding on social media, Wan said he sells drinks and secondhand shoes to fund the service.
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