‘Abang Viva’ ― the story of one of Malaysia’s many everyday heroes

·4-min read
'Abang Viva' or Azwan Omar made headlines for driving all the way from Melaka to Selangor just to help flood victims. ― Picture via Twitter/Cheng and Facebook/Azwan Omar
'Abang Viva' or Azwan Omar made headlines for driving all the way from Melaka to Selangor just to help flood victims. ― Picture via Twitter/Cheng and Facebook/Azwan Omar

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 28 ― ‘Abang Viva’ or Azwan Omar is probably one of the nation’s most loved Malaysians at the moment.

With only RM50 in his pocket and a boat strapped to the roof of his Perodua Viva, he had Malaysian social media buzzing as he made his way from Melaka to help rescue flood victims in Selangor.

In an exclusive interview with Gempak, Azwan said that he was moved to help flood victims in Selangor after reading about them.

“My heart was moved, and I told myself that I must help with the relief efforts.

“Even though this calamity has struck others, for me it is a test for us, together.”

“Puchong was my first location before going to Sri Muda, Shah Alam,” he said.

“I went there based on the information I received from fellow volunteers, and I would go to areas that haven’t received any type of help and will try to evacuate as many victims as I could.”

Azwan added that after helping people in Selangor, he went back to Melaka to ask for his parents’ blessings so he could continue his journey to Pahang.

He added that the Viva he used on his rescue missions belonged to his late sister and the car has been used by his father ever since, before Azwan asked him for permission to use it to help with the flood relief efforts.

Azwan also revealed that he is also taking care of two of his late sister’s children apart from his parents.

He shared that while he has been receiving donations from the public, he would usually decline donations given to him but some directly transfer the money to him.

“So what did I do with the money? I would go to the communities who didn't want to move out from their home and asked them what they needed, and I would go out and get the supplies for them.

“That is how I use the money people gave to me.”

As the 29-year-old machine operator became one of the many heroes that emerged from the disaster in their selflessness to help fellow Malaysians, he said he never expected to go viral, and he’d wished he could turn back time as the responsibility people entrusted to him now are huge.

However, admitted that being known made it easier for him now to get enough information to help those who are in need.

Azwan is currently in Pahang, helping flood victims in the vicinity of Temerloh and Mentakab.

As Azwan’s story spread further on multiple social media platforms,local beauty entrepreneur, Sha Hassan, took to her Instagram to offer Azwan a brand-new 4x4 pickup truck for free.

This was shared on TikTok by user ayukohaye71.

Screenshots of the conversation between Azwan and the beauty entrepreneur. ― Screenshot via TikTok/ayukohaye71
Screenshots of the conversation between Azwan and the beauty entrepreneur. ― Screenshot via TikTok/ayukohaye71

The 17-second clip, began with a screenshot of Sha’s Instagram post where she was seen asking the public on how to get in touch with Azwan as he was not replying to her messages.

The video continues with another screenshot of Sha’s post where she said Azwan has contacted her about the free pickup truck offered by Sha.

Sha uploaded a couple of screenshots from her conversation with Azwan where Azwan can be seen asking her directly if the pickup truck was for ‘marketing purposes’.

Azwan can also be seen explaining that he does not come from a rich family, and he doesn’t want to accept the offer as he is afraid he can’t handle maintenance of the truck.

The entrepreneur had replied that she was not forcing him to accept the truck but has asked him to think about it and to get in touch with her when his ‘duties’ are done.

This is not the first offer Azwan has received, as journalist, Ushar Daniele tweeted that local car manufacturer, Perodua, was also looking for the ‘Abang Viva’.

Ushar’s tweet has garnered over 20,000 likes and has been retweeted over 10,000 times.

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