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Disabled engineer cooks up a winning sambal business
Published on: Sunday, March 03, 2024
By: FMT, Toon Kit Yi
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Disabled engineer cooks up a winning sambal business
Former mechanical engineer Amir Mohsin cooking his sambal which he sells under the brand name Dapur Pak Amir. (Tinagaren Ramkumar @ FMT Lifestyle)
PETALING JAYA: At a glance, Amir Mohsin Mohd Bahruddin looks like any other person. He can walk, talk and work.

But he also suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, a condition he sustained after a particularly bad car crash in 2018 left him in a coma for six months.

Today, this former mechanical engineer runs a business of his own – selling sambal under the brand name “Dapur Pak Amir”.

Last year he won the Ikon Usahawan OKU Selangor award, under the Selangor Youth Community’s Entrepreneurship programme, in recognition of his efforts.

Speaking to FMT Lifestyle at his home in Puncak Alam, he said: “I don’t want to ask people to give me money just because I’m disabled. I have the ability to walk, talk and work.”

He said that after he was discharged from hospital, he sold nasi lemak at a roadside stall, but this meant he was on his feet for hours on end. He soon realised running this business wasn’t feasible in the long run.

Seeing that he had already built a number of loyal customers, he diverted his attention last May to selling just the homemade sambal used in the nasi lemak he sold.

It was a smart move, as evidenced by his booming business and social media presence. He cooks the sambal under a large tent in his backyard. “It’s a long process and can take me up to seven hours of stirring,” he said.

Recalling the accident, Amir said it occurred on the very day he returned to Malaysia from Japan, where he had studied and later worked. He had returned to see his wife and new-born son.

He said he woke up from his coma in the midst of a dream that still means a lot to him. “I dreamt that I was in Mecca for my pilgrimage. In the dream, I was woken up for prayers and, the next thing I know, I woke up for real.”

Doctors told him he might be bedridden for life, but Amir’s wife, who is a physiotherapist, was determined to prove them wrong.

Amir said his wife guided and pushed him to the road of recovery. “She made me do simple exercises like sitting up and standing as well as practising writing. Thanks to her, I was able to walk without support just two months after I woke up.”

Amir still hasn’t recovered all of his sensations on the right side of his body. This results in slower movements and a slight limp.

“Sometimes, when the oil splatters onto my arm when I’m stirring the sambal, I don’t feel it immediately,” he said. “It’ll take a while for me to actually notice it. Only then will I feel the pain.”

His son, now six years old, has grown to be quite active and talkative. Although so young, he watches out for his father’s safety.

“He understands my condition, and can be protective of me. For example, when he sees that the floor is slippery, he’ll let me know and tell me to be careful.”

The Kelantan native said he was thankful to his neighbours and others among his family and friends for their support, including those sponsoring his business who donated the equipment he needed, such as the freezer, the tent and the packaging machine.

Amir said he dreams not only of performing his pilgrimage in Mecca but also of opening a halal restaurant in Japan one day.

“Of course, nasi lemak will be on the menu.”

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