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Author: savemalaysia   |   Latest post: Sat, 27 Feb 2021, 7:01 PM


The selfless four frontliners who continue to strive in this time of need

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JOHOR BARU: Frontliners have been in the news since the Covid-19 pandemic became a matter of grave concern among Malaysians since March last year.

Attention revolved around them for the reason of their dangerous exposure to patients ill with the coronavirus and the constant demand for the caregiving they had to render to the stricken whose numbers were spiralling.

In Johor, frontliners found that they had to shoulder a double burden: Firstly, they had to help in the battle against the pandemic; and secondly, they had to aid victims of natural disasters such as floods brought on by recurrent bouts of heavy rain.

The four frontliners who stood out because of their selfless services were Syahril Fikri Safaruddin, Dr Ng Kim Fong, Sugumar Ragavan and Ahmad Aidil Nasir. 

Syahril Fikri is an assistant medical officer (HA) at the Johor Baru District Health Office.

He has worked in several health clinics and hospitals in and around the city.

The 40-year old has assisted many homeless people who had either lost their homes or been thrown out by intramural feuds with family members.

"I try my best to make sure these people get a roof over their heads", he said.

During the recent monsoon which struck several parts of Johor, he helped people rendered homeless by the floods to gain shelter.

His job was not confined to this role only.

In his free time, he instructs some 50 children and teenagers in the art of self-defence. Some of his pupils had been victims of rape and were battered.

"I make sure these children and teenagers are given proper education and are equipped with the art of self-defence," he stressed.

His concerns also extended to rendering help to former drug addicts afflicted with Retroviral Disease (RVD).

The poor and sickly among the elderly do call upon him to get them admitted to hospitals and when their treatment is over, he sends them for follow-up treatment.

Syahril's proudest moment was how he helped four Indonesians get satisfaction for their grievances when they were exploited by their employer.

"I assisted them in making a police report and put them in touch with the Indonesian Consulate."

From the varied roles he played in helping the poor, Syahril has distilled the following wisdom: "People won't remember what other people say about you, but they will remember what you do."

Dr Ng Kim Fong, 39, a clinical cardiology specialist at Hospital Sultanah Aminah has been on the frontline of ensuring there are adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontliners in their battle with Covid-19.

The president of the Johor Doctors Association (JDA), said his NGO has been working closely with healthcare authorities since the outbreak.

"We contributed not only to Johor hospitals but to frontliners in Sabah, Kedah and Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) as well," he said.

He said JDA worked for hand in hand with its mission was to combat Covid by promoting health awareness among the people with free health screenings and home visits.

"JDA also worked with NGOs to supply PPEs made from non-woven fabrics by TzuChi Johor volunteers and collaborated with Ihsan Johor to source for face shields," he explained.

Dr Ng said his training as a doctor has attuned him to saving lives and made him accept that sometimes he may risk his own while working among the masses.

"We must unite and stand together to fight against this pandemic. We can change the world and achieve great things with love," he said.


(Clockwise) Syahril Fikri Safaruddin, Dr Ng Kim Fong, Ahmad Aidil Nasir and Sugumar Ragavan - NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVA
(Clockwise) Syahril Fikri Safaruddin, Dr Ng Kim Fong, Ahmad Aidil Nasir and Sugumar Ragavan - NSTP/VINCENT D’SILVA


Sugumar Ragavan is another frontliner whose social consciousness began during his days in college in the mid-1990s.

The 46-year old began giving tuition classes for poor students in estates.

He has also been conducting free UPSR and PMR seminars for young students in and around Johor.

"There were many poor students who can't go for tuition. I try my very best by giving them free tuition," he said.

He has canvassed for donations to orphanages and old folks homes, money that secures essentials for the inmates.

"During the Covid-19 pandemic, I went to ensure those homeless in the city don't go hungry and provided them with meals," he said.

Sugumar, who came up the hard way knows how one feels when you have not eaten for a day, so he still goes on rounds to see the homeless and poor don't go hungry.

He visits the B40 group often to see how they are coping.

"When God blesses you financially, don't raise your standard of living but raise your standard of giving," he said.

Ahmad Aidil Nasir is presently an exco member of the Malaysian Red Crescent (MRC) Johor and has been active with the organisation since 1990.

During the first Movement Control Order (MCO) he was given the task to assist and prepare food for the homeless who were gathered at Gunung Pulai.

"I was there for the entire lockdown to see that the homeless are well taken care of," said the 48-year old MRC veteran officer.

Ahmad, who is also a training officer for the MRC Batu Pahat district, said during the MCO this and last year, he was involved in identifying the poor, aged and the sick who were badly affected by the pandemic ensuring they were given essentials for cooking.

"In January this year during the floods which hit many parts of Johor, I was again on the move where I was in the State Disaster Response Team (SDRT), assisting the victims by moving them to higher ground and finding shelter for them," he said.

"It was no easy task as we had to brave the heavy downpour, struggling in the floodwaters, risking our lives with live wires underwater and deep holes," he said.

"In times like this we don't think of ourselves but of the lives of other people," he remarked.

As one educator puts it, "Our frontliners have made many sacrifices. We can't repay them but their names should be recorded in our history books."




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