Donation brightens Raya celebrations for family in rural Belait

National 2 minutes, 27 seconds

BELAIT

TUCKED away in inner, rural Belait along Jalan Merangking, an 89-year-old local and his family were able to celebrate Hari Raya Aidil Fitri with greater ease after an anonymous group donated a diesel generator.

Muhammad Hidup Abdullah Sipaim, who lives with his daughter and two grandchildren, is now able to power up lights, fans and a small television in his wooden house more extensively after the group made the donation during Ramadhan.

Muhammad Hidup said the generator came as a surprise as the family hadn’t put in a public request for one because they already had a petrol generator which was donated last year by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council.

“We couldn’t use the petrol generator (except when we really needed to) because the fuel is costly and we don’t have a car to transport it. But the new generator running on diesel is cheaper and (more fuel efficient),” he said.

Muhammad Hidup was forced to move to his relatives’ house a few hundred metres away last year after his roofing began to leak.

New zinc roofing was supplied by the Belait District Office in April 2015, with new plywood also installed to reinforce the house’s structure.

Muhammad Hidup, who relies mostly on his old age pension to support himself, is now concerned with the long-term future of his daughter and two grandchildren in Brunei, all of whom hold green identity cards (ICs).

“My daughter still holds a Malaysian passport and has to travel across the border every three months to get it chopped,” he said. “It’s a struggle because we don't have a car.”

His daughter, Nurdamia Bazilah, left Brunei to Limbang with her mother when she was only a few years old after the couple decided to separate.

Nurdamia was raised and then later married in Limbang. But after her mother passed away and she separated from her husband, she moved back to Brunei in 2012 with her two kids.

The 33-year-old has repeatedly sought permanent resident status to look after her father and raise her children but has been turned down.

“Even though my father is rakyat jati, I was told that under my circumstances, this wouldn’t be enough. However, I still have hope, as officers told me if my divorce papers come through, I can seek citizenship,” she said.

Her two children, Mohd Danish Wafiq and Nur Damia Batrisyiah, are also considered foreigners holding green identity cards. If granted citizenship, Nurdamia says she will apply for them to receive the same.

“Having no car and holding a green IC, it has also been hard for me to find a job,” she said.

She said both her kids are excelling in school, with her son one of Merangking Primary School’s highest achievers in the Primary School Assessment last year.

“He scored 4 A’s and a B. His future and my daughter’s is very bright if we can stay.”

The Brunei Times