Her husband went to jail for drugs in March 2012, so Robiah Lia Caniago found herself jobless with 2 children to feed. She decided to set up a curry puff business in her 2 room rental flat at Lengkok Bahru, but today her decision has cost her $3,000 in fines. As she is unable to pay the fines, she will serve a 5 day jail-sentence instead.
The 40 year-old housewife Robiah, who has a 9 year-old son and a 7 year-old daughter, was caught selling her illegal curry puffs by the HDB on 2nd May last year.
Robiah, who is from the Batak tribe of Sumatra, met her husband in Singapore 10 years ago when she was on a transit trip to Kuala Lumpur. They got married, had children but her husband was put away. She was put on public assistance by the authorities, but she refused to take the money as she is a self-professed “proud Batak woman”.
She made a hundred curry puffs a day initally from her flat, selling them to nasi pandang stalls, which netted her $20 a day, just enough to afford her daily expenses. But her curry puffs became a hit, and an investor volunteered to buy her pots and pans for her kitchen in October 2013.
She thus doubled her curry puff production, turning her flat into a curry puff factory.
She was sentenced in June last year. She has served her 5 day default sentence and was released this morning.
Upon her release, Robiah says she hopes to find a job soon and does not want to rely on public handouts.