Collective effort needed to tackle homelessness, says Fatimah

Fatimah (second row, seventh left) posing with some winners at the prize presentation.

By Jaythaleela K

MIRI, June 30: The state government is committed to tackling the issue of homelessness, and to ensure success in that process, a collective effort by all bodies is crucial.

“We need collective efforts from all in tackling the matter (and to prevent it) from escalating,” said Minister of Welfare, Community Well Being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.

“We need some sort of proper centre to home them temporarily, whereby we can provide them with clean clothes, a shelter for them to sleep,” she said.

In fact, she believed, with such a centre, it would help prevent homeless people from scavenging for food or sleeping under bridges.

“My ministry has proposed such a centre to be set up in Sibu and Miri similar to what we have in Kuching but with a slightly different concept,” she said at the prize giving presentation for the 16th edition of the Dynasty Hotel charity run this morning (June 30).

Also present at the event were Assistant Minister of Women, Family and Childhood Development Rosey Yunus, Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, Piasau assemblyman Datuk Sebastian Ting, Miri Resident Mastapha Julaihi and Dynasty Hotel general manager Tony Pui.

At the event, Fatimah pleged RM15,000 to the charity run, while other YBs pledged RM10,000 each.

She said the concept of the two earlier mentioned centres which her ministry proposed would be like a ‘soup kitchen’.

“Though this concept, people or non-governmental organisations or volunteers can come forward to the centre and donate,” she opined.

Fatimah added, it would be a collective effort to help eradicate the issue of homelessness in the state.

She said, they have identified locations to set up the centres in Miri and Sibu.

Last year, statewide, a total of 54 operations to address homelessness were held with 162 homeless people picked up and placed at welfare homes (Anjung Singgah).

“Majority of the homeless that we found during the operations were elderly persons,” Fatimah revealed.

Hence, she said, it is crucial for all to work collectively with the state government to help tackle the issue before it escalates.

The Dynasty Hotel charity run this year enlisted 2,000 runners, including those from outside Sarawak including Algeria, Brunei, United Kingdom, Germany, Indonesia, India, Japan, Kenya, Holland, the Philippines, Singapore and other states in Malaysia.

All proceeds from the run will be channelled to eight charitable bodies in Miri: Malaysia Red Crescent Society dialysis centre in Miri, Miri diabetes centre, PDK Morsjaya, PIBAKIS Miri, Sarawak Society for the Blind Miri, Miri Home For The Aged Miri, Persatuan Ibu Tunggal Sarawak Miri and Welfare Generation Cross Over Society. — DayakDaily