KUANTAN: Dressed in old and tattered clothes, an elderly woman in her 60s is seen putting away her belongings scattered along the corridor on the second floor of flats in Setali, near here, into several cardboard boxes and a large bag.
She then carries these to the ground floor, into a waiting car.
After spending more than a year sleeping on cardboard along the corridor, the woman, identified only as Muniamah, will finally have a proper roof over her head.
She was rescued, so to speak, by Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung's special officer Chan Chun Kuang, who made arrangements for her to stay for free at a home for the elderly in Jalan Haji Ahmad until she is reunited with her family members.
Chan said the service centre learnt of Muniamah's plight during the Movement Control Order last year. However, the woman had refused to leave the flats, claiming that her family members would be unable to find her if she moves elsewhere.
"She used to occupy one of the units at the flats with her relatives but they were forced to vacate the house due to rental arrears last year.
"Her relatives moved elsewhere but she was left behind. She wanted to stay with some friends but that never happened.
"Since then, she had turned the corridor at one section of the second floor into her home where she arranges her clothes and cardboard to sleep at night. Sometimes, residents would provide her with meals and allow her to use the toilet," he told reporters when met before helping Muniamah to her new home.
Chan said, by using her picture, he managed to track down one of Muniamah's family members in Kuala Lumpur in July last year. The relative had promised to come to Kuantan to pick her up after the MCO ended.
"Sadly, the person can no longer be contacted. It took us several months to convince Muniamah to agree to move to a home for the elderly.
"She is still concerned that her family members might not be able to locate her but we assured her that we will be around to assist them (if they come looking for her).
"We could not gather much details as she does not have a MyKad or other identification documents. The service centre will make the necessary arrangements to secure her identification documents," he said.
Chan said, based on his previous conversation with Muniamah, her husband died a long time ago and she has several children.
"The details are sketchy as she cannot remember much. Moving her into the home will ensure she is in good health with proper meals... here, she would sometimes collect scrap materials and boxes for a living," he said.
Meanwhile, Muniamah, who appeared surprised by the sudden attention, said she has been waiting for a long time but none of her family members or relatives came to bring her to stay with them.
"I have no problem living along the corridor and none of the residents told me to move away. They provide me with food and other assistance," she said.
Meanwhile, Indera Mahkota PKR coordinator Zuraidi Ismail said they will look into ways to reunite Muniamah with her family before Deepavali next month.
"We will try to distribute her images and maybe utilise social media to identify those who have information about Muniamah. The priority now is to find her family as she seems to be missing them," he said before accompanying Chan to send Muniamah to the home for the elderly.