Wednesday, June 7

Two siblings are gone for want of RM40


Doria (left) receiving Monica’s belongings from Fedelia (centre). On the right is pre-school assistant Linda Gabel who is seen holding the photos of the two victims at the victims’ house at Kampung Paun Rimu Bakung some 30km from Serian town yesterday.

SERIAN: The parents of the two rabies victims – Monica Mazlan, 6, and her brother Jackson Mazlan, 4 – who passed away yesterday at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) actually just needed RM40 to send them for treatment on the day they were bitten by rabid dogs.

However, according to the victims’ auntie Doria Agang, 50, the family was just short of that amount of money that could have saved their lives.

“My cousin-in-law is an odd job worker and my cousin is a housewife. Having six children aged between two and 12 years old, their parents sometimes face financial constraints. That’s the reality of life they are facing every day,” Doria told The Borneo Post at the victims’ house at Kampung Paun Rimu Bakung some 30km from here yesterday.

She revealed that the late Monica was bitten on her heel while her late brother was bitten on his face sometime end of April.

“After the incident, they seemed to be okay until after Gawai Dayak when they started to act strangely. So they were sent to the Balai Ringin Health Clinic for treatment,” she said.

However, Doria said their condition worsened on June 24, when Monica suddenly fell very ill and was admitted to Serian Hospital along with her brother.

“Out of the  blue, the late Monica, who was normally quite shy  and demure  suddenly became very alert  and  talkative. She also suddenly could talk in Bahasa Malaysia fluently. So we were all amazed as to what had happened to the poor child. Shortly after that, she was referred to SGH as her condition worsened.

“As for the boy (Jackson), he was already unwell after Gawai Dayak and he always appeared short of breath. So he was sent to Serian Hospital along with his sister,” Doria said.

She disclosed that there were many villagers who wanted to adopt Monica but her parents refused to let her go.

“Although their parents are poor, they (parents) loved all their children equally,” said Doria who was in tears.

Monica was fourth in the family while Jackson was fifth.

Their four other siblings are a boy and three girls.

Meanwhile, Monica’s pre-school teacher, Fedelia Albert who was present at the house yesterday to send back the victim’s belongings, said she (Monica) was quite an alert pupil and was already able to write neatly.

“She was also quite good at drawing and she loved doing it with her classmates,” said Fedelia, in between sobs.