In order to survive, Muhammad Yusof Jidan, a 66-year-old elderly turns a hut he built himself a year ago, using used woods and zinc from his old house, into his home.
The dilapidated hut akin to a goat pen was built on another person’s land after seeking permission, as his former house which was built on governmental land at Kampung Sri Keramat near Pasir Puteh was demolished by a developer.
Muhammad Yusof who lives alone explained that he was given only RM1,000 by the developer while the land swap (tanah ganti) was not received, unlike other residents.
According to the letter circulated to the residents in 2002 while the project was in the pipeline, the affected residents were supposed to receive a compensation of RM10,000 or equivalent to RM30,000 presently.
“Before this, I stayed temporarily at Surau Al Karamah in Kampung Sri Keramat before the Imam, Abdul Rashid Ali allowed me to build a hut on his land not far from the surau (prayer house).
“I bathe at the surau. If I experience stomach ache at night, I have to go to the surau as the hut only serves as a shelter. In daytime it is very hot while at night it is biting cold.”
Muhammad Yusof works at the kampong and helps out at the surau, depending on monthly aids from Baitulmal (a Muslim funding body for the welfare of Muslims) of RM300 and the Department of Social Welfare (JKM) of RM500.
He was once married and has long separated from his former wife without having any children.
He added that he has submitted applications for land swap at the Menteri Besar’s Office a few times and has yet to receive a reply.
Although he once received an offer to stay at a welfare home, he rejected the offer as he wished to live independently.
“If I were given a piece of land, I would gift it to the mosque after my passing,” he stated.