Translation from Sin Chew Daily News of 27th January 2021.
Johor Bahru 26th January 2021 News:
The Semporna Heroes travelled across the ocean to Johor to help provide relief to the flood victims.
The Semporna Heroes volunteer team, who spared no effort to fight the epidemic, travelled from Sabah to Johor to assist the flood victims. A group of 7 people assisted in the delivering of food to the victims, cleaning their houses and even help to build floating raft houses, and in the process enable more people in Johor know about them within the 15 days they were here.
This Semporna Hero team comprising tourism operators, divers and diving instructors has been active since October last year(2020), mainly assisting vulnerable groups affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the Semporna area, and stepping into the front line assisting medical personnel in fighting the pandemic.
The volunteer team sent 7 “heroes” on the 10th of this month(Jan) and arrived in Johor with the assistance of benevolent people, including the Ihsan Johor and the Yayasan Kebajikan Suria Johor Bahru who sponsored their accommodation, flight tickets and transportation arrangements in Johor.
Sin Chew Daily interviewed these 7 heroes at Kg Laut in Skudai. They are: Team Leader Roihan Ang (29 years old), Team Members Richard (34 years old), Rosteen Anto ( 31 years old), Annan (26 years old), Faisa (26 years old), Hasan (24 years old) and Mohd Shari (23 years old).
We bring cheers to the frontliners and help the flood victims to wash their houses.
Roihan Ang revealed that their first stop in Johor was to the Low-risk Coronavirus Disease Isolation and Treatment Center (PKRC) in Permai hospital, to cheer up frontline medical staff and assist in related tasks such as cleaning aprons.
He pointed out that they went to the Malay villages and Orang Asli villages affected by the floods in Kota Tinggi and Mersing to distribute various aids and clean their houses for some elderly and disabled people.
“During these 15 days, we spent at least 26 hours in total assisting in cleaning 16 houses, kindergartens and community halls in the villages. In addition, we also help the Orang Asli of Kg Tewowoh in Mersing build floating raft houses (Rumah Rakit).”
He said that although they were all born in Semporna, after seeing the severe floods in Johor and Pahang, they could not sit idle and thus came to Johor to assist in disaster relief and reconstruction with whatever limited resources they have.
They also thanked James Ho Ah Kong who is the founder of Yayasan Kebajikan Suria Johor Bahru, for sponsoring their return flight tickets, and Chief Executive Officer, Farrah Baptist, of Ihsan Johor for providing their accommodation.
Richard: Bringing learning experiences back to Semporna.
When questioned, Richard said that this is his first time in Johor. He chose to come here with the team to learn different experiences, which he can bring back to Semporna to share in the future. He thinks Johor is a good place with kind people, especially when he went to Orang Asli villages and was very impressed with the friendliness of the people.
Rosteen Anto: His wife encourages him to be a volunteer.
Rosteen was encouraged by his wife to work as a volunteer in Johor. He said that he had never really volunteered before. He didn’t realize the importance of volunteering until he joined the Semporna Heroes. He said that he can learn different things here, and he also welcomes the people of Johor to visit beautiful Semporna, travel, dive and enjoy a seafood meal when the epidemic is over and when the tourism industry opens up.
Annan revealed that Semporna is a very beautiful tourist attraction. Because the pandemic has caused drastic reduction in the number of tourists, he also joined the ranks of Semporna Heroes as a volunteer. He said that the most memorable time for him was at a village in Semporna. The residents were very poor and pitiful, lacking even basic amenities like water and electricity.
Faisal: Helping others means helping yourself.
Faisal said that although he lost his job in the tourism industry during the epidemic, he believes that helping those in need is also helping himself.
Hasan revealed that he was busy with work before and did not have time to pay attention to the unfortunate people in the society. Now that he joined Semporna Heroes, he felt that many people needed the help of the public. After the epidemic ended, he would definitely continue as a volunteer.
Mohd Shari said that although volunteers are not paid in money, helping those who are less fortunate will help them gain more. He hopes that the epidemic will disappear soon and people’s lives will return to normal.
Roihan Ang: MCO disrupts our plan to go to Pahang.
Roihan added that they originally planned to go to Pahang to assist in the floods in addition to that in Johor. However, the implementation of MCO disrupted their plan. At present, they can only wait for the approval of the relevant authorities before taking the next step. He said that if they are still unable to obtain permission, they may return to Sabah after the enforcement order is lifted on February 4.
Donating materials to aid 87 families.
This afternoon, Semporna Heroes together with other groups including Ihsan Johor Relief, Yayasan Kebajikan Suria Johor Bahru, and South Malaysia Center for Art of Living (AOL), distributed aids to Skudai flood victims. They assisted 87 families in total and the donated materials included mattresses, daily necessities and food, etc.