Homeless family forced to sleep in car


BUTTERWORTH: A family of six is forced to sleep in the car because they can’t pay the rent. They are also forced to seek shelter at rest areas and surau.

The management of the Housing Project for the Hardcore Poor (PPRT) in Bagan Jermal seized their home two weeks ago, because they owed rental arrears of RM7,000 that had accumulated over the past four years.

“Previously, I did not have problems paying rent of about RM124 monthly,” said Mohd Nasir Mohd Shariff, a 48-year-old mechanic, today.

“I have to take care of my wife and my four children. The youngest is five months old and the oldest is 9 years old.

“I also have to send money to my mother who is taking care of my children from my ex-wife.”

He said he had always tried his best to pay the PPRT management as much as he could afford.

“The eviction notice was served five or six months ago, and recently, the management locked up my house.

“I tried to enter, but was prevented from doing so by three policemen. They ordered me to vacate the house or I would be charged with trespassing.

Mohd Nasir Mohd Shariff and his family are forced to live in their car. Pic by RAMDZAN MASIAM

“This prompted me to talk to the management about settling the arrears according to my capability,” he added, noting that he was only able to pay about RM1,000, but the management demanded that he settled at least half of the arrears.

“I could not afford it. For now, my wife and children are seek shelter at surau, rest areas or even inside the car until I can find a house.

“I know this has caused discomfort, especially to my children, but what else could I do?”

Nasir receives RM350 in financial aid from Zakat Penang and is trying to seek help from the Welfare Department.

“I am glad I earn enough money for food, but I hope the authorities can help us with our housing problem.

“Please help me for the sake of my children. I am not from a wealthy family. If I am, why would I rent a house at PPRT,” he said as he sobbed. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd