A Hero to Malaysians, A Dreamcatcher to her Son

The pandemic has instilled a renewed sense of admiration and gratitude for the country’s frontliners. COVID-19 has shown each of them as a hero we needed during difficult times, whether they are doctors, nurses, uniformed personnel, teachers, volunteers or general workers keeping our roads and communities clean. It is not easy to be a real hero, which entails a great deal of sacrifice and putting others’ interests above their own. When the need arose, they stepped up their game to put #KeluargaMalaysia first – all while remaining patient and perseverant.

A medical frontliner is the star of our story. Norlela is a mother of four and a paediatric nurse in Kedah. She’s not just any frontline worker who has given her all to save the rakyat since the pandemic began; she’s also a mother who played a critical role in giving her son a second chance to build his dream career.

Due to the pandemic, her second son, Syahmi, was laid off from his job as a restaurant helper last year, and lost his only source of income. The family struggled to deal with the situation, especially since Syahmi has younger siblings in school.

Syahmi decided to branch out and try something new. With his knowledge and skills as a barber, he made the decision to open a salon for the locals. But Syahmi lacked the financial resources to open his own salon.

Norlela solved Syahmi’s problem using her monthly frontliner allowance as capital to assist her son in launching his business. She also assisted in registering his business and finding a suitable location for his salon.

As a mother, she says she only wants the best for her children. Syahmi, on the other hand, considers his mother his true hero and claims that if it hadn’t been for her, he would have given up hope after losing his job. He is now the proud owner of a salon that the locals often frequent, as they are pleased with his services.

Syahmi had never imagined himself owning a salon, and a successful one at that. He is grateful for the opportunities brought about as a result of the pandemic, as well as his mother’s support in letting him use her frontliner’s allowance as capital, because it has given him a fresh direction he is passionate about in his life. Learn more about Norlela and Syahmi’s journey here:

The Government had allocated RM65 million for frontliners’ allowance, and 100,000 Ministry of Health frontliners were eligible for a one-time RM500 allowance. In addition, the Government has created and implemented a variety of assistance and programmes for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. These initiatives are available to assist those affected through upskilling and reskilling courses, or to find them jobs and careers that are a good fit for their skillsets. All you have to do is go to the Manfaat Belanjawan website to find out more.

As for Norlela, with COVID-19 cases on the decline, she and her colleagues are grateful as the storm passes and a new sky of hope for #KeluargaMalaysia emerges. Syahmi is relieved because he can financially support his family and is saving up to buy a car and a bike in the near future.

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A mother's love knows no bounds. The story of Norlela Abdul Rahman, a frontliner nurse at Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak Kuala Nerang, is a true reflection of this sentiment.
We are facing an unprecedented twin health and economic crises. A deadly new virus emerged, quickly made its silent way across the globe and before we knew it, turned our pandemic management experience on its head and changed the way we live, work and socialise.