As second EMCO looms, residents of Kerinchi PPR in KL say at wit’s end to survive

Seri Ayuni is seen carrying a tray of eggs and some packed food up to her flat in the Kerinchi PPR in Lembah Pantai July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Seri Ayuni is seen carrying a tray of eggs and some packed food up to her flat in the Kerinchi PPR in Lembah Pantai July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 2 — Alone, Seri Ayuni carried a tray of eggs and two packets of food up to her small flat in the Kerinchi people’s housing project (PPR) to feed her husband and three children.

While she has food now, the 36-year-old looked worried as she wondered if this would always be the case over the next two weeks.

Ayuni said her husband was already unemployed and her family were judged to be ineligible for the latest round of federal assistance of RM500 and other subsidies announced earlier this month.

With a two-week enhanced movement control order (EMCO) set to befall her PPR from tomorrow, Ayuni’s worried face conveyed the fears of others living in the working class area.

“They said ‘tak lulus’ [not approved] so I got no government money this round. My husband is out of a job as he works as a bodyguard, and with no one to work for now, he at best gets half a day's wage when his boss comes from Kuantan.

“I do not work, the two older children do, but they don’t have anything now so we’re living on daily wages here and there, and life is getting very hard especially since we won’t be able to go out for two weeks,” she told Malay Mail.

General view of Kerinchi PPR in Lembah Pantai July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
General view of Kerinchi PPR in Lembah Pantai July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Yesterday, Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that 15 KL localities and all of Selangor except the Sabak Bernam district would be placed under EMCO from tomorrow.

Kerinchi was identified as one of the areas that were at high risk due to the many cases reported within the densely populated area.

Another resident here, Aqhuam Rihal, said she has four children, with two in primary school and another two at the secondary level.

Like Ayuni, she also said her husband, a contractor, has effectively been made jobless by the pandemic. To make ends meet, Aqhuam said she has been dabbling with e-commerce but this has still to generate much income.

Ahead of the EMCO tomorrow, Aqhuam said she and others were feeling a new sense of dread as they have exhausted any savings they had by now.

“I feel as though this time around things are way harder than the first MCO as I can feel the public do not have that purchasing power anymore. We can only hope the government will give us some money to help us out. 

“We can somehow manage and try to be thrifty and perhaps eat less, but for how long?” she asked.

Kerinchi PPR resident Salmiah Sodeh speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Kuala Lumpur July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Kerinchi PPR resident Salmiah Sodeh speaks to Malay Mail during an interview in Kuala Lumpur July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

According to Salmiah Sodeh, a single mother of four, both her older sons have already had their work hours cut.

With the EMCO, she said they were certain to lose their jobs completely.

Salmiah is the president of Pertubuhan Wanita Sihat Kuala Lumpur and has been getting aid from Federal Territories Religious Affairs Council (MAIWP) Baitulmal in the form of monthly financial assistance.

Salmiah and several other women were seen on the ground floor of Block C at Kerinchi PPR  handing out packs of vegetables to residents when Malay Mail visited the area.

Salmiah said when the NGOs like Food Aid Foundation, Malaysian Borders, Pertubuhan Kasih Neelofa provide aid, all residents in the area would come out to receive these.

Yet even she was beginning to feel frustration with the languishing nature of the latest lockdown.

She said it should have been short and sharp, and not indefinite as it has now become.

“Now it's come to this ‘total lockdown’; a month, then add two weeks on top of it. Cases are still getting higher so do you feel the thing is OK or worse? I feel it’s getting worse,” she said.

Residents stock up on vegetables in preparation for the EMCO, July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Residents stock up on vegetables in preparation for the EMCO, July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

In Lembah Pantai, neighbouring the affluent Bangsar, Kerinchi PPR consists of six blocks, each with 316 units. It is estimated to be home to over 2,000 people, mostly in blue-collar households.

One such resident is Muruga Marimuthu, who said he has not seen his two sons aged 14 and 12 for a year as he sent them to live with their uncle in Puchong, Selangor.

When contacted, Marimuthu said he was out stocking up on groceries for his wife Sumathy Kaliappan for at least a week, if not two.

As an office assistant at Kong Zi Institute in the University of Malaya, Marimuthu has been forced to work from home. He said he sent his children away as he did not want to put them at risk of infection.

“There has been a huge increase in cases here so not surprising we’re hit with another lockdown,” he said when contacted.

“I don’t know what to do but to stay at home and try to be safe. However many in the block are suffering. At best they are getting daily wages, some more on part-time or contract basis. If they cannot go out for two weeks I don’t know what they will do.

“My wife and I help our neighbours as much as we can but from a year ago things are getting more depressing,” he said.

Residents of Kerinchi PPR stand in line to get provisions, July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Residents of Kerinchi PPR stand in line to get provisions, July 2, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Many of the PPR residents were grocery shopping at their nearby mini markets or from the grocer below their blocks when Malay Mail visited.

One such shop situated outside Block E sold various types of meats, vegetables and other daily essentials. The shop owner Muhammad Zakaria told Malay Mail that he usually would not open on Friday but did so today as the space in front of his store would be cordoned off tomorrow.

“Tomorrow from this point here [pointing in front of the shop] they will be placing the barriers. So no one can come in or out from the street [points to the right].

“However there’s no point in me opening my shop since there will be heavy police presence right in front and it will make their jobs difficult.

“I’m open today so I can sell off all my stock and shutter up for two weeks, then we’ll come back.”

When asked how the people in the area would be able to get their items, he said they should savvy and use delivery services or send one person out for essentials.

Most of Selangor and 15 localities in Kuala Lumpur will be under the EMCO for two weeks starting from July 3 due to high Covid-19 infection rate.

The districts in Selangor and several areas in Kuala Lumpur reported cases of Covid-19 exceeding 12.1 per cent or 100,000 population.

The EMCO will among others restrict those in areas affected to stay at home with only one from each household allowed to buy essential goods, along with a curfew after 8pm.

The list of mukim affected in each district in Selangor are:https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/07/01/most-of-selangor-some-localities-in-kl-placed-under-emco-starting-july-3-wi/1986471

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