“Please don’t forget our daughter Catherine”

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By Lian Cheng and Nancy Nais

BAU, Oct 24: Parents of the late Catherine Janet Tiwi hope that the Education Ministry will give the family a monthly pension as remembrance of their daughter’s sacrifice and contribution as a government employee.

Father Tiwi Nios, 54, a firefighter by profession, said the amount payable was not important but it was crucial that Catherine’s name remained in the government’s list of pensioners.

“We are not asking for a lot of money. No. The amount, we don’t care. We just want something to show that she is still part of the government and that she is given a monthly pension.

“We just hope that her name be included in the pensioners’ list so that we can remember her for as long as we can. That is all we are asking,” Tiwi told DayakDaily at his house at Kampung Skio here.

Tiwi’s request was echoed by his wife Wency Seimon, 49, who said their filial daughter gave her a monthly allowance when she was still alive.

“I hope the government can give us some monthly pension. Then it will be like (as if) she is still alive, where she gives me a monthly allowance,” said Wency.

Tiwi (right) and Wency at an exclusive interview with DayakDaily today (Oct 24, 2019) at their house at Kpg Skio, Bau.

Catherine, 25, died after rushing into a burning teachers’ quarters in SK Batu Bunga, Mulu National Park on July 25, 2018, reportedly to save two fellow teachers whom she thought was trapped in the fire.

The two teachers, however, managed to escape the fire alive while Catherine perished. Her selfless act had touched many, prompting an outpouring of sympathy and mourning across the whole of Sarawak.

Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching paid a visit to the grieving family on July 27, 2018 and promised that she would try to help the family to follow up on this issue of monthly pension as Catherine died as a government employee.

Tiwi said after Catherine’s demise, the Education Department of Kuching did ask the family to submit forms and other details with regards to Catherine.

“They want to make justification of how to give contribution to her. After submitting all the forms required, they said she was not qualified for pension because she was not confirmed yet. So we were very sad.”

Following that, Tiwi said the family was given an one-off compensation from the federal government.

“We don’t ask for a lot. We just hope the government can give us a bit of pension as a remembrance that she still exists in the government’s paylist or still holding a job. Just a bit would be enough,” he stressed.

Tiwi said currently Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin was also helping to pursue the request with Teo whom Mongin met to handover a letter of request on Oct 16, 2019.

Willie (left) passing the letter of request to Teo on Oct 16, 2019.

Meanwhile, on the Sarawak government’s part, he said the Sarawak government had given the family a total of RM40,000.

The first cheque of RM30,000 was given a few days after Catherine’s death. The second cheque of RM10,000 was given during the last Sarawak Legislative Assembly session in May this year.

“The money came. Who doesn’t want money? But if can, we hope the (federal) government can give us the monthly pension. A small amount will suffice. Even though it might not be much, at least every month, there is something for the mom (Wency), as if she (Catherine) is still alive and working. This is all that we want,” he added. — DayakDaily