TV show makes boy a real-life hero

Job well done: Altamis Faiz showing his Hang Tuah award after the national level World Children’s Day celebration at a hotel in Johor Baru. — Bernama

JOHOR BARU: A simple piece of advice on the popular animated show Upin & Ipin helped nine-year-old Altamis Faiz Shahrullizam save his whole family from perishing in a house fire.

The Year Three pupil said he was woken up at around 4am by the smell of smoke that had seeped into his bedroom from under the door.

“I quickly went downstairs and saw that our prayer room was on fire. After that, I ran back upstairs and shouted to wake up my parents and siblings.

“I also managed to grab the house keys and carried my three-year-old brother who was asleep in my room before escaping the house with my family.

“After all of us got out safely, I also tried to wake my neighbours by shouting so that they could get to safety too,” he said when met during the national level World Children’s Day celebration at a hotel here yesterday.

Altamis Faiz’s bravery earned him the Hang Tuah Medal, an award given out since 1960 to children who displayed courage and excellence.

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Before going on stage to receive the award from Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri, the SK Desa Aman pupil from Sungai Buloh, Selangor, shed some tears as he recalled the fateful incident that took place on Sept 4.Nancy hugged the boy after handing him a trophy, certificate and the RM5,000 cash prize.

Asked about what was going on in his mind during the fire, Altamis Faiz said he only wanted to get his family to safety.

“In an episode of my favourite cartoon series Upin & Ipin, there was a fire drill and I remembered one of the firemen characters telling the kids to run and shout when there is a fire – and I followed that advice,” he said.

His father Ezrin Baharuddin said the whole family was proud that Altamis Faiz, the second eldest of five kids, received such big recognition for his actions.

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“When he woke us up, there was already thick smoke in the house and we had to crawl downstairs and out of the house.

“The Fire and Rescue Department later told us that the house was about 70% damaged by the fire and the cause was believed to be a short circuit on a ceiling fan downstairs.

“I cannot imagine what would have happened to us if it was not for Altamis Faiz’s bravery and quick thinking.

“We owe him our lives,” added 45-year-old Ezrin, who works as a human resources supervisor.

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