KOTA KINABALU: Odd job worker Soilon Lambut, 59, has never complained about his life despite the hardships he has to go through on a daily basis.
To raise his seven children, he used to work as a grass cutter for a local resort in Tuaran while his 41-year-old wife stayed home at a remote village in Kiulu, some 60km from here, to care for their children.
Though money was never enough, as he only had a monthly pay of less than RM1,000, Soilon had his eldest son, 26, who worked as a mechanic to help with the daily expenses.
However, about a year ago, Soilon's eldest son fell ill and started having constant seizures and would often fall unconscious up to days.
"So he had to stop working and we had to spend more of our money for his condition. Going to the hospital and staying there for several days at a time is costly," he said.
When he thought his luck couldn't get worse, his fifth child, who was 16 then, had an accident while playing basketball last year where he slipped and fell.
"I don't know what happened but his condition went from bad to worse after his surgery. He is now bedridden and unresponsive," Soilon said, adding that his son now needs to be fed via tubes.
The teenager needs round-the-clock care now.
With this, he had no choice but to cut short on his working days. His boss was considerate and allowed him to adjust his schedule accordingly.
As time passed, Soilon was forced to spend more time at home to care for two of his sick sons and he soon had to quit his job.
His boss, who took pity on him, continued paying him a small portion of his salary up to this day.
"It was never my intention to quit my job and keep depending on others for help. I liked working and wanted to continue but my current situation does not allow me to," he said.
Now, out of desperation, Soilon is calling for public assistance for donations so that he can buy special milk formula for his bedridden son and hopefully, seek alternative medicine for his eldest son as well.
"I don't hope or even dare to ask for much, even RM5 or RM10 helps," he said.
His former employer, who only wanted to be known as Mr Ngu, said he felt pity for the family and that is why he still gives them money every month.
"But I myself can't sustain and what I can give is not enough so I hope the public can contribute something to help this family," he said.
He has helped Soilon lodge a police report on the matter, as it is also a requirement when asking for donations from the public.
Tuaran MP Datuk Seri Madius Tangau, who is also Sabah deputy chief minister paid the family a visit and made some contributions to ease their burden on Saturday (July 18).
"We will try and see how to assist them further especially when they need to go to the hospital for review every two weeks," he said.
Asked about Soilon's welfare aid from the state Welfare Department, he said the department is still in the process of finalising some matters and it would just be a matter of time before the family starts getting assistance.
Kiulu assemblyman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai said he will also be paying the family a visit soon.
Did you find this article insightful?
91% readers found this article insightful