Neighbourly concern alerts Penampang villagers to disabled man's troubles

(2nd left) Mandela presenting some food items to Donny's mother.

KOTA KINABALU: When Donny, a physically and mentally disabled man in his 40s, failed to cycle past on the daily trip from his Kg Kituau, Penampang home to Donggongon market, his fellow villagers grew concerned.

Donny, also known as Ameng to his neighbours, faithfully makes the journey to buy provisions for his mother.

He has followed the routine ever since he learnt to cycle over 10 years ago, and traders at the market are so used to him that they help pack his purchases and give him change although he cannot speak properly or follow a conversation.

So when Donny failed to cycle past their homes for a few days, his neighbours became worried.

One of them happens to be the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Youth council advisor, Datuk Ceasar Mandela Malakun, also Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister.

“I went to Donny’s house to find out what happened, as we hadn’t seen him for days,” he said.

“When we reached his home and spoke to his mother, we found out that his bicycle had broken down, and that was why he couldn’t do his usual grocery rounds,” he said during an interview recently.

Mandela got Donny a new bicycle, and rallied some friends to chip in for groceries and new clothes for him.

“Donny was so happy. He started riding his new bicycle around the house compound and was smiling all the way,” he said.

Seeing the dilapidated state of their home, where Donny lives with his mother and brother, he also decided to raise funds for the family.

“I know they receive monthly assistance from the Welfare Department. Donny has three other adult siblings, but I am not sure how much they are helping financially,” he said, adding that Donny’s father died some time ago.

“I am working with the KDCA youth council and Penampang communities to try and raise funds to repair the family's dilapidated house,” Mandela added.

Those who wish to help can check out his Facebook page at Mandela Malakun.

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