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KOTA KINABALU, Feb 11, 2016:

This year’s Chinese New Year seems to be a good one for an elderly couple who have been calling a dilapidated structure in Sepanggar, “home” for over three decades now.

Since photos of their incredibly “humble” home went viral, help has been pouring in from concerned netizens, who vowed to lighten the burden of Liew Yun Pin, 83, and his 71-year-old wife, Kong Nyuk Hiong.

A family friend, Tong Chung Hing, who lives about 3km away from the couple, decided to post photos of the couple’s dilapidated house on his Facebook page, in the hope that their plight would catch the people’s attention.

“They used to call me for help and it hurts to see their living environment. Their walls are a combination of rotten planks and rusty zinc sheets. The roof has holes in them.

“There is no flooring and the couple are forced to sleep on the bare earth,” he said when met today.

Earning a meagre RM40 per month by selling galangalat a nearby tamu ground, Liew said they had to walk down a steep hill to fetch water from a lake.

“We basically live day-to-day. We don’t have fancy items because we cannot afford them.

“Plus even if we do, our fragile door cannot stop people from breaking into the house and stealing our food, or anything that fancies them.

“And it is worse when it rains. The roof is full of holes. My poor condition prevents me from fixing the roof,” Liew told Sabah Journalists Association (SJA) president Francis Fahir and SJA Board of Trustee Member, Kassum Sangi.

The two led the association’s committee members on a charity visit to the couple’s home in Kampung Gudon, about 10km from the city centre.

SJA raised funds, donated food items and several necessities to the couple.

“This is part of our efforts to show concern for the needy. We hope that through such efforts, we will be able to lighten their burden, besides encouraging others to come forward to help those in need,” said Fahir.

Being childless, Liew said he was forced to care for his ailing wife, who suffers from a heart condition.

“We have been married for 50 years. So, she’s my responsibility. She’s my only family,” said Liew, when met yesterday, adding his only surviving sibling was also unwell following a stroke a few years back.

A typical Chinese couple, Liew added that for many years, they had depended on traditional Chinese medicines, because, as he put it: “It is the best.”

Apart from SJA, Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid also visited the couple.

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