A Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) veteran, Private Suria Mohamad Hassan, and his family have been living under the Jalan Loke Yew bridge in Kuala Lumpur for two years
Suria, his wife, and their five children aged between three and 14 years old, have been living in a narrow, makeshift hut with plywood walls and no roof since November 2019, because they cannot afford rent.
The fate of the family of seven recently went viral after a MalaysiaGazette video was uploaded on social media.
According to the video, Suria previously worked as a fruit seller and lived in the Sri Sabah flats in Cheras with his in-laws. However, due to the large number of residents there — more than 13 people — he was forced to bring his wife and children to live under the bridge.
Suria is a retiree who once joined the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping force to Bosnia. He receives a military pension of RM900 a month but has to pay loan sharks RM600 per month for taking up a loan for his fruit business.
The family's plight caught the attention of the Women, Family, and Community Development Minister, Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun
According to her Facebook post on Friday, 19 June, Rina mentioned that there have been attempts by some parties to help Suria and his family, but he declined.
"Alhamdulillah, I was finally able to convince Suria and his family to move immediately to a temporary placement at a transit house in Flat Sri Johor," she said.
In addition, the Ministry of Women, Family, and Community Development (KPWKM) — through the Social Welfare Department (JKM) and the National Welfare Foundation (YKN) — has provided immediate assistance and food baskets for the family.
Rina said the children will also be receiving child assistance through JKM starting next month
According to Bernama, she said, "The family, especially his children, need help as they are still in school. They must be given a place and education so that they will not be left behind."
"I understand that the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) will take a week to finalise the housing matters but for now the transit house will be their home," Rina told reporters after meeting the family on Friday.
She added that Suria needs psychological support too. "JKM will also provide him counselling services," she said.
Suria and his family also received attention and assistance from the ATM Veterans Affairs Department (JHEV) and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (MAIWP)