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Year 5 boy thrilled to move into new house funded by Sabah Electricity Board

Mohd Khairin Norhalim and his family posing for a photo in front of their new house under Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd’s Bantuan Mesra Rakyat programme. – Rebecca Chong/Scoop

SANDAKAN – Mohd Khairin Norhalim, a Year 5 student residing in the rural village of Kg Sg Lokan, Kinabatangan, expressed his excitement about having his own room for the very first time.

Living in a wooden self-constructed house in Kg Sg Lokan, nestled among vast oil palm plantations, Khairin felt ashamed to invite friends over to play and study.

However, he and his family received good news when they were selected for the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) Bantuan Mesra Rakyat (BMR) programme, which funds the construction of houses for poor families in Sabah at no cost.

The BMR programme, one of SESB’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, began last year. It involves seven families from seven districts across Sabah, chosen by the Social Welfare Department.

Khairin’s family is expected to move into their new house once it is completed, set to be by the middle or end of this month.

“Currently, we have a space that we treat as a room, but only my sisters get to sleep there. It doesn’t even have a door.

“The rest of us sleep in the living room. I do my homework, eat and rest in the living room. I don’t invite friends over because I’m not sure they’d be comfortable spending time with me in the living room while the rest of my family is also there.

“So, I go to their houses instead,” Khairin told Scoop, adding that he had been wanting his own space for a long time.

The 10-year-old boy also shared that he was most excited about having a space to place his items because he currently did not have any personal space in his house.

“Our stuff often gets mixed up, and I lose my things from time to time. I get very annoyed that I don’t have my own space. When I want to study, I get distracted by my whole family in the living room, including my 2-year-old younger brother,” he said.

Khairin’s father, Norhalim Abibun, 47, was chosen as a recipient of the BMR programme for the Kinabatangan district, near here.

Despite his efforts to maintain their home, it remains in a dilapidated state, succumbing to flooding about three times a month.

“At night, during rainfall, none of us can rest peacefully as we’re busy collecting rainwater with buckets to prevent it from seeping into our home,” Norhalim shared with Scoop. 

“We fear that the water level might rise to the point of inundating the house. Though I’ve repaired the roof, the foundational pillars are weakened by recurrent floods, posing a serious risk to the structure’s stability.”

Norhalim is a security guard at SK Sg Lokan and is living with his wife and six children, with the youngest being his 2-year-old son.

Because of this, Norhalim said that he had been seeking assistance, such as People’s Housing Project (PPR) aid, but to no avail.

“I am truly grateful to SESB for this initiative. The BMR house is now finished, and we’re eager to relocate. It’s not about luxury; it’s about ensuring my family’s safety from floods,” he said.

It is reported that the BMR house measures approximately 6m x 9m and was constructed at a cost of around RM75,000.

In addition to the house, SESB also arranged for various furnishings and equipment, including a dining table, chairs, mattresses, beds, curtains and cooking appliances.

Norhalim also expressed that this year’s Hari Raya Aidiladha would be more meaningful for his family, as they would be relocating to a new home.

Editor: This article by Rebecca Chong has appeared in the Scoop.

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