Kedai makan abang tukang masak in Malaysia (Picture: The Star/ THE EDITOR)

MALAYSIA – Since the announcement of the first movement control order (MCO) in March last year, a restaurant owner has been serving from 200 up to 1,000 packs of cooked food outside his restaurant in Damansara Damai, Petaling Jaya, for free.

As a child who grew up in the squatter area of Selayang Indah, Shahrul Nizam Kamal, 35, said he understood poverty and never wanted anyone to go to bed hungry.

He serves cooked meals three times a day outside his Kedai Makan Abang Tukang Masak in Plaza Surian.

“I started to serve packed food such as nasi goreng (fried rice) outside my restaurant a week after the MCO started last year. I do it daily. I do not stop anyone from taking it and from my observation these days, I see people from the M40 and T20 category taking the food,” Nizam said on The Star, Wednesday (30/6).

Nizam said, they may come in a car but they have a lot of debts and bills to pay. They are facing challenges at this point because many have lost better-paying jobs.

The B40 is hit badly but people do not have huge debts to settle. However, the B40 depends on daily wages to live and they are not having it easy either.

“Many who have benefitted from the food aid are also contributing to my free food programme,” Nizam said.

Those who go back to work would sometimes donate to Nizam, so that He could serve more free food.

Shahrul Nizam is the father of a special needs child

Shahrul said he decides on the number of food packs to donate each day depending on the profit he makes.

He also provides provisions to 2,000 beneficiaries in his neighbourhood

“I have a system in which I have the details of these beneficiaries and I would text them to collect provisions such as sardines and rice once a month. I go on a rotation basis and my recipients are people of all races and backgrounds,” said Shahrul.

He said his only hope and prayer is that people would not give up no matter how hard life may seem at the moment.

“Please do not give up. Please have hope and stay strong and seek help,” He said.

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