Four-wheelers hit the roads to serve communities in rural areas

by FAREZZA HANUM RASHID/ pic credit: Facebook

THE challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to all layers of society had Malaysians of various backgrounds coming forward to offer their expertise in a bid to lighten the burden of others.

There are fashion designers and seamstresses sewing personal protective equipment (PPE) suits for the frontliners, universities building robots for hospitals and 3D printing enthusiasts making face shields.

With their vast experience in responding to natural disasters, four-wheel drive (4×4) aficionados loaded their trucks and off-road vehicles to transport emergency relief to communities in rural areas around the country, who are among the worst hit by the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Last week, 4×4 Relief Malaysia, a non-governmental organisation based in Kuala Lumpur sent four pick-up trucks to Gua Musang, Kelantan, to send food aid to the Orang Asli community of Pos Bering.

They transported 350 units of 10kg rice packs, 105kg sugar, over 100 cans of condensed milk, 70kg onions and 70kg cooking oil, among others, through 11 roadblocks across state borders. Group coordinator Thomas Foo said there were still many Orang Asli villages at Pos Bering that had no access to towns, while the villagers had no bank accounts or were too afraid to go out to get food.

“The first two weeks of the MCO were already crucial for them. Going into the fifth week, without food they could go into a state of famine,” Foo told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

4×4 Relief Malaysia had obtained police approval to go as far as Gua Musang and from there, worked with the Orang Asli Affairs Department and the Civil Defence Department who sent the aids into the villages by boats and sampans to ensure there was no contact between the volunteers and the locals.

“Sounds easy but the coordination and logistics were a mammoth task, but the police were really exceptional. They monitored throughout the mission to ensure everything reached far into the jungle where the villages are,” Foo added.

Besides rural communities, the group had also distributed aids to almost 40 police stations, police departments, hospitals and clinics across Peninsular Malaysia. To date, they have sent out around 45,000 face shields, 16,000 face masks, 4,000 bottles of hand sanitisers, 4,000 headcovers and 500kg of food rations. They will soon ship out PPE to hospitals in Sarawak with the support of Malaysia Airlines Bhd who had allocated 1,000kg of cargo allowance for free.

“We are also supporting the airline’s frontliners with face shields,” Foo said.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Selangor, a group of 4×4 clubs came together under the umbrella of the MS Hardcore Task Force to disinfect the Rumah Kasih Sayang Tasik Puteri, Rawang, which houses 73 orphans.

The task force president Mohd Syed Md Shah told TMR the disinfectant used was sodium hypochlorite, which they used to disinfect various police stations in Selangor.

“Besides the disinfection, we also contributed some food items and cash aid for them to prepare for the upcoming fasting month,” Mohd Syed said, adding that there are three units of houses for the girls and two houses for the boys.

“We chose this orphanage because it does not receive government funding,” he added.

Among the food items donated were rice, cooking oil, dates, eggs, instant noodles, milk and Milo, as well as over RM3,000 spending money donated from personal contributors.