Dr Hii: Proposed transit home humane measure to support homeless, vagabonds in Sibu

Fatimah (in white head scarf) speaking to a homeless person in Sibu in this file pic.

SIBU, Sept 2: The proposed establishment of a transit home for the homeless and vagabonds will help to solve serious social and welfare problems related to this group of people.

Former president of Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), Dr Hii Sui Cheng in giving his thoughts said today that the project is timely as there are quite a lot of “drifters” found sleeping on five-foot-ways in the central business district and elsewhere in town.

“I am in full support of the establishment of the transit home for the town as decided by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah,” said Dr Hii.

While congratulating the minister for the initiative, Dr Hii also hoped that the programme would become a model for helping the less fortunate.

“Providing a place for the vagabond is a humane thing to do as a caring society. I would propose the authority should work to develop a good programme to teach the homeless to do simple tasks like gardening so as to gradually rehabilitate them,” he said.

Dr Hii strongly opined that the setting up of the transit home will improve the town’s image as a clean, friendly and caring urban centre.

Yesterday, Fatimah said the government had set aside RM546,000 to renovate and convert the Maksak House into a transit home for the homeless and vagabonds in town.

The project when completed would be able to accommodate 40 people at a time. There are an estimated 30 homeless people in the town.

“The concept of TTUG Sibu is as a temporary stopover for homeless people to clean themselves, eat and sleep at night. The next day, they will go out for their business,” she said.

The home which will be managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) appointed by her ministry and the Sibu Divisional Social Monitoring Coordination Committee (JPPSB), will also provide physical and mental health screening services, substance abuse detection and reference assistance to relevant agencies.

According to Fatimah, JPPSB Sibu had identified Shan Xin Charity Association of Malaysia’s Sibu branch to manage the home. They would be given an annual grant of RM244,800 as operating expenditure. — DayakDaily