Malaysians banding together to help others during coronavirus outbreak

Kembara Soup Kitchen provides meals to the staff at Sungai Buloh Hospital.
Kembara Soup Kitchen provides meals to the staff at Sungai Buloh Hospital.ST PHOTO: NADIRAH H. RODZI

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysians are providing food, logistics and other essentials to ease the personal hardships faced by front-line medical personnel and others during the coronavirus outbreak.

Seeing how hard medical professionals are at work, the founders of Kembara Soup Kitchen, Mr William Cheah and Ms YiLyn Chan, have pledged to give back to society by providing meals to the staff at Sungai Buloh Hospital for as long as necessary.

"Tonight was our seventh delivery to Hospital Sungai Buloh's Pusat Saringan (screening centre). We are happy to note that there are more and more Malaysians providing comfort food to our front liners," Ms Chan said in her Facebook post on Thursday (March 19).

"To avoid good food being thrown away due to oversupply, #TeamKembara has worked out a different schedule with the front liners at the Pusat Saringan, and with immediate effect, we will be serving them on alternate nights only," she said.

She added that her team also received 200 packs of noodles from a donor, which will be included in the carepacks for families who survive on daily wages and for those in need.

"Thank you again friends for supporting this," she added.

Malaysia on Friday entered the third day of the restricted movement order, imposed to fight the spread of the disease. Public gatherings have been banned, schools and businesses closed, overseas travel for Malaysians suspended and tourists banned from entering the country until March 31.

While the restriction is necessary, good Samaritans believe the two-week period will cause severe hardship to people such as taxi drivers, labourers, roadside food-sellers and those who do not have ample social protection. Volunteers are dropping off food and donating cash and other essentials to them.

Noting the limitations faced by front-line medical personnel, Mr Muhammad Azwan said he decided to start offering a babysitting service with the help of his mother.


"This is an initiative at my own personal capacity. Seeing how hard they work and how long they have to be apart from their loved ones gave me this idea," said Mr Azwan, who is the president of humanitarian non-governmental organisation Syabab Care.

"I advertised on my Facebook profile and the offer is limited to three children. So far, I've received a lot of messages but unfortunately, many live far away so they couldn't send their children to my mother's house in Batu Caves, Selangor. But the offer still stands," he added.

On Monday, popular blogger and entrepreneur Vivy Yusof and her husband Fadzarudin Shah Anuar donated portable air-conditioners to Serdang Hospital after ascertaining that the hospital was short of the items.

"After learning about the amazing things that hospital staff/volunteers are doing, Fadza and I felt the need to do something. I reached out to ask what equipment they need and decided to contribute some portable air-cons for them... Thank you for all that you do for society, so proud to be a part of a community that cares and loves for one another," she said in an Instagram post.

The couple then launched a support fund on Tuesday aimed at helping to mobilise volunteers to help at health facilities, help hospitalised or quarantined individuals, as well as provide medical and general supplies to hospitals.

To date, at least RM370,000 (S$122,000)  has been raised.