KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — The name “Abang Viva” has become recognisable to Malaysians ever since the floods last December hit the nation which saw over 60,000 people affected.
Equipped with only RM50 and a single boat strapped on top of his Perodua Viva, Azwan Omar, 30 made his way from Melaka to Selangor to help rescue flood victims there by evacuating them up on his boat.
He also helped in providing basic supplies collected from the public to the victims as well as with cleaning activities.
Later in March this year, Abang Viva was back at it again and headed to the East Coast’s states as another flood has struck and affected over 6,000 people in Terengganu and Kelantan.
This time he was equipped with a new pickup truck which was given to him by a kind-hearted individual along with a group of friends who volunteered to help in his flood-rescuing endeavours.
He had also sent a team to assist with the recent massive flood in Baling, Kedah.
Due to his relentless efforts which has garnered the attention of many, Azwan was bestowed the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Melaka, Tun Mohd Ali Mohd Rustam on Wednesday.
Azwan told Malay Mail that he was humbled by the presentaiton of the award, adding that he was grateful for everything.
“I see all of these as a blessing from The Almighty, Alhamdulillah, I’m grateful.
“But to me personally, I still feel like I don’t deserve this honourable award. Because for me, everything I’ve done is nothing compared to others.
“Especially to those who had sacrificed and helped those in need way more than me,” Azwan told Malay Mail.
Due to people contacting him whenever there was a natural disaster and through advice from the public, Azwan launched his own disaster-relief NGO, Pertubuhan Gerakan Kebajikan Abang Viva (PGKAV), in June.
The NGO was created to carry out disaster relief work and assisting the underprivileged community in their area.
According to Azwan, the reason he introduced PGKAV was also because he had received donations from the public and he wanted to put it into a proper bank account for transparency.
“Now that we already have a proper account for our NGO, the public can donate straight to there.
“Our NGO will also be audited every year. From there, the money flow will be more detailed and people can know where all the money went and what it was used for,” he said.
He added that there was still a lot for him to learn in terms of running an NGO and he was looking forward to improving their services along the way.
Azwan and his Viva during the massive flood last December. — Picture via Facebook/ Azwan Omar
Looking at the current weather and the approaching monsoon season, Azwan said that he and his team were on standby every day and they will be on the lookout for any disaster emergencies that required their aid.
Aside from that, when talking about his experiences in assisting flood victims and working with multiple government agencies during the emergency, Azwan shared that there were still those who valued personal things over their own safety.
“Most people during the flood, they refused to leave their homes even though the government agencies such as Bomba and the Civil Defence Department had told them to.
“They refused to go mainly because they saw the water level was still at their knees and they valued their belongings even more than their safety.
“However, they didn’t realise how dangerous the situation was. These agencies, they’ve done their research on the rising water levels and at that time, the possibility of the water rising drastically, are very high,” Azwan said.
Although faced with difficult challenges on his journey, Azwan’s spirit remained strong, and he aimed to continue this effort of his until the end.
“As long as I have the energy and spirit as well as the opportunity, InsyaAllah I will continue this effort,” he said.