Families grieving over cousins who died in Singapore fire

KOTA KINABALU - The families at a remote village in Pitas reacted with shock and grief over the deaths of two of their relatives in a fire at a worker's hostel in Singapore.

They were still trying to come to terms with the deaths of cousins Jubitol Rumanjing, 37, and Maslan Musundo, 43.

They are also praying that Maslan's brother Muslin, who is now warded at the Singapore General Hospital, would pull through.

The three were from Kampung Mankapon, about 250km from Kota Kinabalu.

They were working for a construction company in Singapore for several years.

Banggi assemblyman Datuk Abdul Mijul Unaini said the families were making arrangements to have the bodies flown home.

Two other Malaysians killed were Sarawakian Yusoff Masrong, 49, and Ramu Kotiah, 50, from Perak.

Mechanic David Charles, 36, a fellow hostel mate from India, said the Malaysians kept to themselves mostly but always greeted co-workers with a smile.

"Most of us keep within our own groups probably due to language barriers," he said yesterday.

Besides Malaysians and Indians, the hostel housed workers from China.

A Chinese national, who declined to be named, said she did not know the Malaysians well.

"They always kept their area clean and neat.

"They have been occupying the unit for several years," she said.

A few stalks of fresh flowers were placed in front of the victims' burnt unit along Geylang Lorong 4 here.

Some of the occupants were seen clearing the debris left from the raze that occurred around 1.40am on Saturday.

Seven people, including two Singaporean firemen, sustained injuries in the incident.

An official from the Malaysian High Commission to Singapore confirmed that the bodies of Yusoff and Ramu had been claimed by their next-of-kin.

The bodies of the two Sabahans would be flown to Kota Kinabalu today.