Foundry fuels family’s fortunes

PETALING JAYA: For Penang’s very own “iron lady”, the heat of a foundry has not melted her love of forging useful household items from metal.

Zainab Ibrahim, a 64-year-old who has 19 grandchildren, makes more than 30 types of sharpened tools, such as parang, golok (machete), axes, and various knives.

“Anyone can do this, so long as there is interest and will.

“I’ve been doing this for 44 years and my husband and I have raised seven children from the income derived from this,” Zainab said in a recent interview with mStar Online.

Zainab produces her metalwork at a workshop located behind her house at Kampung Tok Bedu, Tasek Gelugor.

Zainab said her husband, Abdullah Ismail, 68, taught her about forging iron.

“My husband used to make rubber tapping knives, and he would sharpen blunted tapping knives for a fee.”

She eventually asked her husband to teach her what he knew and, with some savings, set up a workshop.

“It’s hard work, but with all our experience we manage to meet all our customers’ needs and requests,” she said.

Her products are mainly bought by wholesalers and are sold in shops in Perak and Kedah.