MIRI: He was a decorated soldier and policeman. In the 34 years he served the nation, Ngalinuh Bala saved lives and survived bullet wounds.
But Bala, 66, a Kelabit native, is a far cry from who he was before. Semi-paralysed after suffering a stroke, he has been living in a squatter area without piped water and electricity in Taman City.
“What I hope for is a piece of land of my own; is it too much to ask? I have spent my life savings of RM75,000 to build this house on this plot of vacant government land.
“I have no title to this land. I have to use rainwater to cook and drink. I have to use my own generator for electricity.
“I am not asking for recognition or financial reward. All I want is a proper place to live in,” Bala said slowly and in a soft tone when interviewed at his squatter house earlier this week.
Bala was a soldier in the British Army in then Malaya and later in the Malaysian Field Force. He received six awards for bravery from the British, Brunei Sultanate and Malaysian and state governments. In 1972, Bala received the Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa, the nation’s highest award for a soldier, from the King.
He holds the awards, letters of commendations and medals close to his heart but hopes he will get his 50th Merdeka wish – good health and a place to call his home.
On Thursday, the Rurum Kelabit Sarawak and Kelab Sukan Highlanders gave him RM2,000 for his daily needs.
“We consider him a community hero. We hope the Government will help him. “Some people who achieved little in sports have got more than this hero,” said Sarawak Kelabit Association chairman Dick Bala.
“Some people who achieved little in sports have got more than this hero,” Now that’s Malaysia for some. Perhaps for this Merdeka, we should look up to national heros instead of glorifying unworthy people.