By Lian Cheng and Karen Bong
KUCHING, June 14: CityOne Megamall blast victim Lee Jin Cai and four of his friends who survive the tragic incident have engaged a legal counsel to look into compensation issues.
Jin Cai, who sustained 42 per cent burns and a broken right leg in the episode that happened on Dec 4, 2018, is still recuperating in his house at Stampin Baru Resettlement Scheme.
The plumbing apprentice is still on a Ilizarov external fixator after a major operation to fix his broken right tibia. He either hops or uses a walker to help him move around the house. Unable to move freely, he has no choice but to stay at home and remain jobless.
Currently, his only income is from the Social Security Organisation (Socso), while his wife works as a clerk in a supermarket. Since he is unable to work, the responsibility of looking after their three-month-old daughter, Helen, partially rests on him.
When DayakDaily journalists paid him a visit at his house, Helen was crying for milk. Lee’s mother then hurried over from the kitchen and passed the milk bottle to Jin Cai to feed his daughter.
“Thank goodness that I have my daughter. At least this is more bearable. She makes noises and she keeps me occupied. I can spend time with her and see her grow.”
Jin Cai and his brother, Jin Hao, were among six employees of a plumbing company inspecting the piping system of CityOne on that fateful day when the explosion occurred. The six of them are neighbours who grew up together at Stampin Baru Resettlement Scheme.
Unfortunately, one of them, Tchee Kiam Jong, lost his life in the blast.
“I suffered the most serious injury among the five of us. My brother sustained minor injuries, but it still took him two months to recuperate. He has already started working.”
Jin Cai narrated that he passed out immediately when the blast occurred. Hence, he has no recollection of how he sustained the injury or what was going on when everything went haywire that day.
He regained consciousness only after two months in the intensive care unit (ICU).
“I really have no idea what happened that day. I passed out instantly. I don’t know how I got my leg broken, and I don’t know how I felt then. I just passed out.”
Jin Cai, who was discharged from the hospital three months ago, needs to go for medical follow-ups once every three weeks.
Even though he has recovered from the burns, the colour of the skin of all his limbs is of a much darker shade compared with those on other parts of his body. But it is something that he has to live with.
“I can’t plan for the future now because I don’t know when I will get well. The doctor said I have to wear this (Ilizarov external fixator) for at least eight to nine months before it can be removed. After that, there will be physiotherapy.”
He is also aware it would take a while longer before he can walk normally again. — DayakDaily