WITH six children, a disabled brother and an aging mother to look after, a banana fritter seller also has to deal with 22 loan sharks who are biting at her heels.
'The loan sharks have made numerous calls, sent threatening SMSes and even tried to run over my brother.
'It's my fault. I know it's wrong to borrow haram money from the loan sharks,' sobbed the 38-year-old from Manjoi as she related her predicament to reporters.
'But I have nowhere else to turn to.'
The woman, whose name was not revealed, said she was forced to borrow money from loan sharks three years ago to start her business.
'Banks and Tekun rejected my loan applications.
'The village chief and assemblyman's office also turned me away.
'With so many responsibilities, I was desperate so I borrowed RM800 from loan sharks. The debt has now grown to RM25,000,' she said at the press conference held by Perak Barisan Nasional Public Services and Complaints Centre chief Mohd Rawi Abdullah.
The woman also said she had thyroid, kidney and heart problems while her husband was a former drug addict.
'The loan sharks have taken my welfare card to get my monthly aid. I really don't know what else to do,' she said.
Another hawker, 40, said she faced a similar problem with getting loans and aid from banks and the Government.
'If not the loan sharks, where else can we get the money?' she asked.
'I've borrowed RM7,000 from them and I am afraid to be at home during the day,' said the single mother of three.
'They'll come at night to make noise and scare my family.'
She also said there has been a lot of loan shark activities in Manjoi over the past few years.
'They are targeting single mothers and small traders like us.
'They move in and out of the town freely,' she said.
Mohd Rawi urged the police to put a stop to these activities.
'It used to affect only new villages but these people have now gone into a traditional Malay village.
'Six women from Manjoi have approached me over the matter. I believe there are more victims,' he said, adding that they have been threatened since 2013 and all have lodged police reports.