Sandakan Diocese helping the poor

Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented by the Government of Malaysia from March 18, 2020, many have been affected by this situation, especially migrants (Indonesia and the Philippines) and locals who are poor or have lost their job.

May 17, 2020

SANDAKAN: Since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was implemented by the Government of Malaysia from March 18, 2020, many have been affected by this situation, especially migrants (Indonesia and the Philippines) and locals who are poor or have lost their job.

Responding to this situation, the Human Development Commission of the Diocese of Sandakan held a brief meeting on what actions could be implemented by the Parish Human Development Committee.

At St Mary’ Cathedral, members of the Parish Human Development Committee (KPIP) first discussed  with Parish Priest, Fr David Garaman, what help was needed for the most affected families — those who are poor or have lost their jobs.



Following that, a joint effort between the KPIP and the Sandakan Rotary Club (NGO) was formed to carry out the relief mission. The Sandakan Rotary Club agreed to contribute to the relief fund while the Sandakan KPIP formed a coor dinating team. Information about the relief mission was transmitted through the Indonesian Catholic General Family (KBKI) and the BECs.

While maintaining social distance, the distribution of food to the migrants and locals was carried out around the Sandakan district, targeting those who have yet to receive any aid from the government or NGOs.

The food aid given was in the form of rice, eggs, wheat flour, sugar, cooking oil and coffee powder. The first aid mission on April 24 managed to reach and assist 45 families, two in Batu 2 1/2 and the city, three in Batu Sapi and Jalan Cecily, eleven at Mile 7, seven at Mile , 11 at Mile 10, six at Mile 11, four in Mile 12 and one in Mile 19.

The Coordinating Team found that there were families who have not yet received any assistance from any groups, so the second phase of aid is to be planned and implemented as soon as possible. Single moms or single parents, who still need help, are also listed for future assistance.

The Catholic Church of the St Mary’s Cathedral, Sandakan and the Pastoral Office of the Diocese of Sandakan, are deeply grateful for the donations received from the Sandakan Rotary Club and those involved in making this relief mission possible.

Elizabeth De Guzman, Chairperson of the Filipino Pastoral Committee distributed basic food aid and basic hygiene supplies to migrants from the Philippines and Indonesia who were detained in the Sandakan Temporary Detention Centre on April 17 – 21. Elizabeth’s husband donated basic food items to the Filipino migrant community around Sandakan during the Easter season.

The Parish Human Development Committee (KPIP) of Holy Trinity Church, Tawau reported that some parties have contributed relief aid to those who were affected by the MCO.

Ambar Park, an NGO, is giving aid through the Tawau KPIP. They  distributed aid to 2,000 single mothers on April 15.

Tawau KPIP is also involved in coordinating relief aid received from a Member of Parliment, P190 Tawau, through Tawau Interchurch (TIC) on April 23.

On April 28, KPIP Tawau conducted a relief aid programme to assist 70 families from the Indonesian migrant community at Kongsi 8, Tawau. The programme was organised and managed by Roland Henry, Deputy Chairman of KPIP and Nadu, Chairman of the Indonesian Pastoral Committee (KPI) Kongsi 8.

The relief aid was presented by Fr Stanley Matakim, Assistant Rector of Holy Trinity Parish, Tawau with Clarence Chin, Chairman of KPIP Tawau and accompanied by a member of RELA, En. Mohd Salim.

This donation came from a caring and generous person, Madam Christina from Jakarta, Indonesia. Tawau KPIP assisted in purchas ing/ preparing goods according to the amount of money that Madam Christina sent.

For the Church of St Dominic, Lahad Datu, Parish Priest Fr Simon Kontou gave his full support to the mission of helping those in need. This relief mission was carried out through the BECs. The generosity of the people of St Dominic Parish made this mission possible.

The Sandakan Diocese Human Development Commission is grateful to receive a report from the KPIP Lahad Datu, stating that they received relief aid from NGOs and Government Agencies as well as the Catholic Church.

The MCO has greatly affected many people. For those who want to donate, kindly contact the Sandakan Diocesan Pastoral Office at e-mail: dospo1@gmail. com. Your contribution is very much appreciated, and God bless you for your kindness and generosity. --DOSPO

Church of St Francis Xavier, Melaka
“We have been having classes since the start of the Movement Control Order (MCO),” said Hedrick Joseph Rodrigues, the coordinator. The catechists used different methods according to each one’s capabilities — social media Apps just as in schools, while some are giving assignments.

“For sacrament classes, class catechists will keep in close touch with the parents and children regarding their progress in faith and preparing them for the sacrament of Communion and Confirmation.

“As the MCO was also during Lent, I also introduced charitable   activities for the catechists to help the needy families who live near them.


“As many of the younger children do not own handphones, the catechists communicate with their parents to give the children homework and printable activities and to submit through emails or WhatsApp once completed.

“We have also helped the Orang Asli home in Trengkera Melaka which has about 200 children with ages ranging from seven to 17, with bags of rice, dry food and some clothing donated by parents which are all nicely packed in boxes gift wrapped. 

“During the MCO we have also helped the frontliners by sending packed cooked food to them at roadblocks and also hospitals financed by individuals working as a team.

“Hendrik wants to ensure that the catechetical ministry is a working ministry not just in faith but also for the community.”

Church of St Joseph, Plentong
Prior to starting classes, Vincent Quek, the coordinator, sent a letter to all parents and catechists.

In the letter, he explained that the catechism paradigm has shifted. Parents have become an essential part of the catechism equation to make online catechism work. Catechists can no longer feel the heartbeats and breath of their students — they can only see them over an electrical box.

Catechists have to relearn using digital methodology in discharging their work.

Parents must ensure their children watch, listen to and work on the assignments given by the catechists to make the e-learning work. This is also what parish  priest Fr Anthony Ng reiterated: ‘Parents are the chief catechists of their children’.


Lessons began on April 18. Almost all primary school catechists are using Zoom with their students.  Assignments are forwarded and discussed during zoom classes.

For those from Primary Six to  Secondary, lessons are followed by assignments. All must submit their assignments. Parents will be notified if they do not submit.

Students’ attendance is good, as shown by them handing in their assignments.

They use material available on YouTube and quizzes from Google.

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