Balbir Singh (second from left) talking to Zulkifli Abdul Rashid and his family at their house in Port Dickson yesterday. With them is Jagdev Singh (left).
PORT DICKSON: For Zulkifli Abdul Rashid, 49, new clothes for his wife, Norzilawati Ariffin, 28, and five children this Hari Raya is a distant dream.
His main worry is whether there is food on the table when it is time to break fast. “It hurts when there is nothing for the family to eat at the break of fast except for some leftovers from neighbors,” said Zulkifli at his dilapidated house in Kampung Chokra.
It has been five months since the family moved from Ipoh, due to some family problems, to start a new life here.
Prior to moving to Kampung Chokra, Zulkifli and his family had been living in a makeshift tent near the beach but after the tent was damaged, the family made the main bus station their home.
They were then brought to the house, which has no electricity supply, by a taxi driver. “It has been really tough. I got a job as a security guard only this month,” he said.
For the past four months, Norzilawati has been washing dishes in a restaurant earning RM20 a day. However, due to her ill health, she has been unable to go to work on a daily basis.
The couple have five children – Zulhairi Azmi, six, Nor Suhaida, five, Zulhairul Nizam, four, Zulkhalil Amri, three and Zulkhalid Azwa, eight months.
The situation was so bad that the family could not afford infant formula for Zulkhalid. “We had no choice but to give him condensed milk,” said Norzilawati between sobs.
The Negri Sembilan Sikh Naujawan Sabha (Sikh Youth Organization) went to Zulkifli’s aid when one of its members, Jagdev Singh saw the squalid conditions the family was living in.
Organization president Balbir Singh handed over cash and other household items such as cooking utensils and mattresses worth RM 3,000 to Zulkifli to enable the family to celebrate Hari Raya. Sabha members also took the children to shop for new clothes.
Those who wish to donate to the family can contact the Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia at 71, Jalan Maarof, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur.
Those who wish to donate household items or food can send them to 602, Jalan Layang-layang 18, Taman Layang layang, 70100 Seremban.