Crammed into a one-room flat at a people’s housing project in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, Abdol Wahab Musa’s family of 16 offer a glimpse of how the urban poor in the capital city make ends meet reported in The Malaysian Insiders.
In this interesting and pitiful news from Malaysia, Wahab, the 53-year-old father of 15 has been living at Projek Perumahan Rakyat in Sentul for the past four years, making a living from selling drinks, snacks and fruits – illegally – near Dataran Merdeka. Space is so scarce that the family sleeps in shifts, taking turns to get some rest when other family members are out working.
Wahab’s extended family total 36, including sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren. For a short period after he secured the flat four years ago, all used the tiny apartment as a base. Most of them moved out three years ago, and the hawker now has 15 people living with him, including his wife Ruslelawati Mohd Ali, 43.
The living room of the one-room flat measures 3.35m X 3.65m and functions as a store room for the goods to be sold. It is also the bedroom, where a few of Wahab’s children, grandchildren and a daughter-in-law were sleeping during the reporter’s visit. When the cramped conditions get too unbearable, he said a few family members slept at a nearby mosque or at Dataran Merdeka by their mobile stall, or on a sidewalk.
Wahab hopes for a better future for his children and knows he cannot expect them to continue helping him with the hawking business.