With border crossing bans keeping families apart this Hari Raya Aidilfitri, one woman is attempting to put a smile on the faces of those stuck in the city - by offering free rendang and lemang.
On Tuesday, Selayang resident Rafiqah Umu Habibah Parok, 30, took to Twitter to offer free chicken rendang and lemang for singletons spending the festive season on their own in the Gombak district of Selangor.
“Singletons in Gombak, who can’t go back to their hometowns for Hari Raya because they can’t cross state borders, can send me a direct message with your address and telephone number.
“I want to send you chicken rendang and lemang. Don’t be shy. Just drop me a message. Lots of love,” she tweeted.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, she said the idea for the giveaway was impromptu, driven by the simple objective of making others happy.
"Since we can't do much, can't celebrate Hari Raya at people's homes, plus we have a lot of time, why don’t we make other people happy?" said Rafiqah, who lives with her family.
This is her second year catering festive food for strangers out of her own pocket, she said, refusing to accept payment from those receiving the food packs.
Last year, Rafiqah, her sister and mother also made Raya care packs of rendang and lemang for those unable to spend the day with their families.
At the time, Klang Valley was under the conditional movement control order and district border crossings were allowed.
As such, their food packs could reach as far as Shah Alam.
"I asked my rider to deliver to those who are closer, while I sent some of the packs to those further away," she said.
Based on messages she received requesting food packs, she said many families have been apart for Hari Raya for two years in a row, either due to travel restrictions or because they have to be on duty during the holidays.
Rafiqah added that she received a lot more positive responses and requests from Twitter users this year, compared to the last.
“There are a lot of DM (direct message) inquiries. Even though the offer has ended, I will still respond to the messages as much as possible,” said Rafiqah, who works in administration.
Due to time constraints to make the deliveries on the eve of Hari Raya, Rafiqah will only be delivering 40 packs this year.
She urged all to look after one another and help those in need in this Covid-19 pandemic.
"Physical and emotional assistance must be given, whether from friends or strangers," she said.