Nearly $1m in donations received for Sabah earthquake victims to be paid out progressively

Tributes and flowers from hundreds of visitors at a tribute site set up in Tanjong Katong Primary School on Jun 9, 2015.
Tributes and flowers from hundreds of visitors at a tribute site set up in Tanjong Katong Primary School on Jun 9, 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Sabah Earthquake Fund, set up shortly after the June 5 Sabah earthquake, has raised nearly a million dollars to help the Singaporean families of three breadwinners who died in the disaster, as well as to rebuild the lives of the trainers and guides who were affected by it.

During the collection period, from June 23 to Aug 31, individual and corporate well-wishers contributed a total of $982,000.

The money will be disbursed progressively over the next few months, after which the fund will be closed and audited.

A committee comprising representatives appointed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Temasek Foundation decided how the money was to be allocated or used for beneficiaries specified by the donors.

 

Donations with no specific beneficiaries were allocated based on the needs of the families.

The fund was set up in response to requests from the public. It will help the families of the late Tanjong Katong Primary School (TKPS) teachers Mohammad Ghazi Mohamed and Terrence Loo, and Camp Challenge instructor Muhammad Daanish Amran.

Mr Ghazi, 35, is survived by his wife Khalidal Huda Sukaimi and three children. The family is expecting a fourth child.

Mr Loo, 29, leaves behind his parents and elder sister, while Mr Daanish, 22, is survived by his parents and two younger siblings.

The donations will be used to buy insurance policies for dependents of the disaster victims' families to provide them with sustainable financial support. The policies will provide yearly payouts, with a lump sum payout upon maturity for their future needs.

A total of $100,000 will be split equally between the Mountain Torq trainers and Sabah mountain guides.

The $50,000 for Mountain Torq, the operator of the Via Ferrata on Mount Kinabalu, will be to support its trainers and staff.

The recipients include the five trainers who accompanied students from TKPS on Mount Kinabalu. Two of its trainers, Mr Valerian Joannes, 27, and Mr Ricky Masirin, 28, died while guiding the pupils.

The remaining $50,000 will be channelled to the Mount Kinabalu Earthquake Disaster Fund launched by Sabah Parks. This fund will support the Sabah guides whose livelihoods have been affected by the earthquake, as well as those who, directly or indirectly, helped in the evacuation of the TKPS students after the earthquake.

The cheque presentation to Sabah Parks and Mountain Torq will take place in Sabah early next year.

calyang@sph.com.sg