A widow was tricked to pose for an internet post that portrayed as if the Malaysian government is insensitive to the plight of the poor in Kunak.
“I thought they were sincere. They told me that they come to help, when in fact, they had tricked me and exploited my condition for their own political interest.”
Raimah Among, a widow, from Kampong Getah Kunak said this on Wednesday, January 20, to staff of the local People Development Leadership Unit (UPKR), or more commonly referred to by the people of Kunak, as The Unit.
She was referring to a post at Sabahkini.net, on January 19, 2010, where she was reported to be in despair waiting so long for her application for a PPRT house (a project where houses are built for the poor, fully funded by the Malaysian government). A photo of her with the logo of UMNO at the background, in a house with leaking roof, was attached to the post to sensasionalize her story.
Halid Harun, who headed The Unit, stumbled on the post while browsing the net, with some of his staff, for news update. He was apparently shocked as as far as he could recall, Raimah has been receiving numerous aid and support from the government.
The RM 300 monthly benefits from the Welfare Department mentioned in the post is one of them. Raimah also receives RM 600 every three months from the Sabah Department of Islamic Affairs (JHEAINS), making the monthly average cash that she receives to RM 500.
To support Raimah’s venture into sundry shop business, the government through Kunak District Office provided her with sundry goods amounting to the value of RM 10,000 in March 2009.
After being made aware of the post, the chairman of Kampung Getah Village Development and Safety Committee, Dahlan Hj Hananu accompanied Raimah to the Unit’s office to clear the situation of the actual account in the said post.
According to Raimah, several people visited her at her house in Kampong Getah that day, professing symphaty on her condition and that they had come to help her.
“I didn’t realize then, that they were agents of propaganda from the opposition party,” said Raimah. “I was so naïve; it didn’t occur to me that they would manipulate my destitute condition for their political advantage.”
“They brought this gentleman along,” Raimah continued, pointing at the reporter who posted the article to sabah.net, who was also present. “They said, they come to help, and asked me to pose infront the logo of UMNO on a used billboard plywood, that I have been keeping in my house.”
According to the reporter, he was merely reporting what he saw and heard. He was not aware of the assistance given by the government to Raimah, other than the one mentioned in the post.
Consequently, the reporter mentioned them in a follow-up post to the same website on January 21, 2010.
Raimah laments that post that has wrongly given impressions of her being ungrateful.
“I have been receiving so much help from the government and I’m very grateful,” Rahimah said, now and then.
Containing the tears that had begun to cloud her eyes, Raimah cleared her throat and continued, “I can’t imagine how I would carry on without those assistances.”
“Don’t worry. I don’t think the BN (Barisan Nasional) government will withdraw those assistances,” said Halid assuring her.