RAWANG, July 22 — The Health Ministry has been asked to compile a list of children who lost one or both of their parents to COVID-19 so that aid can be extended to them, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“… I have asked Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba to list down cases involving the death of one or both parents (due to COVID-19), which will put their children in a dire situation financially.
“After this, if there are more cases like this we will also help. The government is always concerned about what happened to everyone,” he told reporters here today after visiting eight siblings who lost both their parents to COVID-19. Also present were Dr Adham and Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad.
The plight of the eight children, aged between four and 19 years, went viral on social media after their parents succumbed to the virus within a space of three days.
The head of the family, Benyajeed Bernie, died on July 16 and his wife Noraini Ibrahim two days later.
Ismail Sabri, who is also Defence Minister, said several parties including the Selangor Zakat Board and Welfare Department (JKM) had extended aid to the eight siblings.
“The monthly rental of RM650 will be fully paid by the Selangor Zakat Board, apart from food assistance and a one-off payment of RM650. JKM will give RM950 a month to all the eight siblings,” he said, adding that the one-off RM5,000 Special Aid for COVID-19 Death Management from the National Disaster Management Agency has also been given.
He said the Defence Ministry had also agreed to adopt the eight as foster children of its subsidiary company Boustead Holdings Berhad.
The second child, who is 18 and working in a factory, has been offered a job by Boustead, he added.
Meanwhile, the family’s eldest daughter Nazurah Nabilah Benyajeed, 19, expressed relief and gratefulness for the aid given to them.
She said the aid would ensure that her younger siblings could continue with their education.
“Initially I was sad (over parents’ death) but when I saw my younger siblings also crying, I stopped weeping because I have to remain strong for their sake.
“… It’s normal to lose your loved ones. But we shouldn’t be overwhelmed by sadness to the extent of affecting our health. Our spirits need to remain strong to get on with life,” she said, adding that her parents had asked her to look after the family.
The authorities have also offered to transfer Nazurah Nabilah, who is pursuing a Diploma in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, from Politeknik Mersing in Johor to Politeknik Sultan Azlan Shah in Behrang, Perak so that she can be nearer to her home.
The Higher Education Ministry has also given RM500 each to the eight siblings in the form of Skim Simpanan Pendidikan Nasional (SSPN-i) savings.