Marthina Mojunggal (6th from left) receives the key to her new house in Kg Kobusak, Penampang, Sep 22 from Osimal Foundation 

By Audrey Ansibin

Sep 30 2020

“MY mother and my brothers are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.”

Aptly, this was the reading on Sep 22 when a newly-built house was handed over to a 44-year-old widow of three children in Kg Kobusak, Penampang. The family lost their home to a fire over a year ago.

Marthina Mojunggal, whose plight was highlighted by Catholic Sabah last year, finally has a home to call her own after living in a makeshift house for months. Prior to that, she and her children – now aged between five and 19 years old – had to live in the Kobusak community hall.

A visibly touched Marthina, who welcomed the visitors from Osimal Foundation, trustees and guests at the handing over ceremony, said she felt blessed but had mixed feelings about her life events.

In 2015, she lost her husband to a tragic accident. 

“There were times I felt like giving up,” Marthina said on the trauma of losing everything to the fire in March last year. “But I knew had to be strong for my children.

“I’m both happy and sad at the same time because of the outpouring of welfare aid for us.”

Marthina expressed her gratitude to Osimal Foundation Chairman Tan Sri Richard Malanjum who helped coordinate the fundraising and construction of the house.

“I’m very thankful to Tan Sri for the house. Only God can repay his (and the donors’) kindness,” she said. “If it weren’t for him, I would probably still be living in the makeshift house.”

Initially, the funds to build the new home should have come under the Housing Assistance Programme (PPRT).

However, it was through the initiative of the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish Human Development Committee (SHC/PHDC) that the plight of the family of four were finally taken seriously. The committee had reached out to “good samaritan” Colin Lau, a lawyer.  

According to Malanjum, a former Chief Justice, he came to know about the widow’s plight from fellow lawyer Colin.

“Colin mentioned her case to me. He told me to contact Kevin Joibi. I was still in service at the time. During my visit to Kota Kinabalu, I called Kevin and fixed an appointment to visit Marthina,” he said.

Malanjum said he was speechless when he arrived at Marthina’s “shack” – the walls and roof were made of pieces of old plywood and zinc.

“It was a one-room shack for a single mother and three young kids. It did not require another second for me to decide.

One-room shack where Marthina and her three children lived before 

“On the spot, I told Kevin that I would build (Marthina) a house,” he said, adding that he wondered if they believed him as there were no funds yet at the time.

“But my faith was with the Lord, that He would answer my prayer. Indeed, He did. My first call to a very good friend in Kuala Lumpur was positive. After that, it was quite easy. I got a person to supervise the construction.”

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis which led to the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO) in March this year, construction works had to be halted.

The contractor Susial Kambisa, 37, said they had to stop construction work and were only able to resume in June.

“Before we could build the kitchen, we had to demolish the shack, which was quite time-consuming. We managed to complete the house by September,” he said.

On how Malanjum managed to pull in Berjaya Cares Foundation and Yayasan GSR in providing their assistance towards the completion of the house, he said he relied on Divine Providence.

“I had no doubt at all that God would help,” the former La Sallian said.

Malanjum, whose role models were the De La Salle Brothers from Ireland and particularly the late Rev Bro Peter Phelan, is no stranger to welfare works.

“Life is only worth living if it is lived to make another life better,” he said on why he continues to help the poor. “Yes, it is faith and obedience to His words.

“Many poor rural students are under Osimal’s organised sponsors,” he said, adding that the foundation was set up with the purpose of helping poor students, single parents and assisting medical carers for the rural community.

Meanwhile, he said the foundation is also currently helping a pair of visually-handicapped siblings with monthly assistance.

“Two hostels in different parts of rural Sabah have been completed and one is still under construction,” he added.

“One house is still being completed, too. These are substantially funded by sponsors coordinated by Osimal including funds from the trustees of Osimal.”

He hoped the relevant authority would provide assistance to the hardcore poor people, especially in rural areas.

He also said they should help the underprivileged who were admitted in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital KK and their carers.

“Provide them a hostel so they have a place to rest and refresh when not caring for their sick loved ones.”

Also present at the ceremony were Osimal Foundation Deputy Head Datuk Nellie Sikodol, its Secretary Puan Sri Charlene Jintoni, trustees Kevin Joibi and Willie Ng, Osimal Publicity Head Ellen Sikodol, Osimal members Patrick Sikodol, Nicholas Punai and his wife Christina, supervisor Susial Kambisa @ Punuk as well as guests Colin Lau and Sergius Ramday representing SHC/PHDC.

Osimal Foundation Chairman Tan Sri Richard Malanjum (third from left) with the foundation’s trustees and guests