KUANTAN, Jan 2 — “I apologise for causing a stir over the viral video of the collapsed suspension bridge. We just wanted a replacement, but many people have misunderstood our intention.”
This was the reaction of Abdul Jalil Sulaiman, 41, who showed a video of him and his five-year-old son, Lutfil Hadi, risking their lives to cross the damaged suspension bridge in Kampung Pamah Aur, Bukit Betong, Lipis to attend the first pre-school session at Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu Yon, Bukit Betong.
Abdul Jalil’s wife, Siti Zaharah Othman, 33, had uploaded the four videos which lasted one minute each on her Facebook account and gained the attention of netizens, with more than 1.2 million viewers, more than 33,000 ‘shares’ and 12,000 ‘comments’.
“The video had also caused the people’s representative to be criticised for failing to discharge his responsibility. I did not intend to tarnish anyone’s image.
“This morning I wanted to send my son to pre-school, but the road connecting the village to the school was submerged with floodwater. So, I had to use the suspension bridge that had been damaged for a year,” said the father of five children aged between four and 11.
He added that the alternative route was often used by villagers as it was faster than using the highway to Bukit Betong which took 40 minutes.
Since the video became viral, Abdul Jalil had received numerous calls. He had also met with Jelai state assemblyman Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who is also the Pahang Housing and Municipal Committee chairman, for further explanation on the delay of the repairs on the bridge.
Meanwhile, Wan Rosdy said the issue had been resolved and it was merely a misunderstanding as the residents did not know of the measures taken by the government to replace the collapsed bridge following last year’s floods.
“Earlier, I was shocked to be informed of the video which went viral whereas the request for the repair of the bridge had been approved on Dec 21,” said Wan Rosdy who had shared documents related to Bernama via the WhatsApp application.
Among the documents shared was an application letter dated June 1, 2017, directed to the National Disaster Management Agency requesting for a special allocation to repair the bridge as well as its approval on Dec 21, involving a cost of RM462,414,40, and the scheduled repair work starting on Monday. — Bernama