No Raya visitors for family of 3

National 2 minutes, 57 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

A FAMILY of three has yet to receive visitors during Aidil Fitri to their small and rundown wooden hut at Kampung Junjongan this year.

For four years, 55-year-old Taisah Hidup has been living at the hut with his mentally challenged husband and their adopted son, who still goes to school at Masin Secondary School.

Taisah said the hut was built by the father of her husband almost 20 years ago, as a place to rest as he ran a farm nearby.

She said the family moved into the hut as they were forced to move out of a relative’s house.

Her husband, Omardani Hj Abd Rahman and his brother, who was also diagnosed as mentally challenged, would fight with each other whenever they are near.

Taisah, who is unemployed, said the first three months were a struggle for them because they had no electricity.

“My husband’s father had a generator connected to the house, but it wasn’t working when we moved here. However, now we have trouble getting water.”

She explained that the only source of water for the family came from the farms nearby. “We usually carry water basins over there and carry it back to the house.”

“Sometimes we have to go through without any water though, especially during the farming season,” said Taisah, who was born in Limbang.

The family’s main source of income is the monthly allowance given to Omardani by the Community Development Department.

Omardani tries to supplement his allowance by taking on odd jobs.

However, the income they receive cannot cover their monthly expenditure and they regularly depend on donations and assistance from individuals and non-government organisations (NGO) for supplies such as food and drinking water.

The condition of the house had deteriorated during their time there; the walls started to peel off, the weak flooring had been reinforced several times to prolong its life and the water leaks into the house through holes in the roof.

“We have to walk softly in the house and are afraid to lean on the walls. When it rains heavily, we’re afraid that the house might collapse with us still in it.”

“We were praying for our safety when there was a rainstorm on the first few days of Raya,” added Taisah.

Two years ago, the family received a letter from the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) promising to build them a house through the zakat (tithes) fund, as they were eligible for it.

Hj Zulkipli Hj Abd Rahman, the MUIB officer handling the family’s case, told The Brunei Times in a phone interview that the family’s housing application is still under progress.

“At the moment, the application is with Public Works Department (PWD) who will open it up for tender,” said Hj Zulkipli.

“Once we’ve received offers, we will proceed with the construction of the house.”

Hj Zulkipli said, “the application took a long time because the family wasn’t aware that they owned a piece of land”. After his father’s passing, Omardani did not know his father left his family and him behind some land.

“In housing cases, MUIB works closely with the Land Department, Survey Department and PWD to ensure the families have not applied for housing previously or are waiting for one,” he added.

In an appeal, Taisah said, “I wish they can finish constructing the house soon, it doesn’t even have to be fancy or big. I just want a comfortable and safe place for my family to stay in”.

The Brunei Times