Miri has most number of homeless folk

Fatimah (4th right) visiting the temporary shelter for homeless folk at the Kampung Pujut Tanjong Batu community hall.

MIRI: The Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry has identified 96 homeless people in the state from various operations carried out in July this year.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister, Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the highest number of homeless people —24 — was discovered in Miri, followed by Sibu (21), Bintulu (18), Kuching (17), Samarahan (1), Serian (3), Betong (1), Sarikei (8) and Kapit (3).

Based on her ministry’s statistics, as of July this year, she said 36 or 38 percent of the 96 homeless people statewide had received their first vaccine dose.

She said 18 homeless people in Bintulu had received their first vaccine dose. In Miri, 16 homeless people had also received their first vaccine dose followed by six in Kuching, seven in Sarikei, three in Serian, two in Kapit and one each in Betong and Samarahan. 

Fatimah speaking to local media during a press conference in Miri.

“For instance, in Samarahan, Serian, Betong and Kapit, homeless people in these towns have completed their second dose while vaccination drives in other towns are ongoing and underway,” she said.

Fatimah said that the majority of these homeless folk were placed at temporary shelters while waiting for their second dose. 

Earlier on, Fatimah accompanied by Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Sebastian Ting, Assistant Minister for Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Rosey Yunus visited two temporary centres that accommodated homeless people in Miri.

These centres comprised a community hall at Kampung Pujut Tanjong Batu which housed 17 homeless folk and the Kampung Lereng Bukit community hall which housed seven homeless folk.

“For the next 21 days starting today, they will be staying here while waiting for the second dose,” she said.

Fatimah was told that all homeless relocated to the centres during an operations known as ‘Ops Cerapan’ had tested negative for Covid-19.

“The vaccination drives for these groups are in progress, because we want to ensure that no vulnerable person is missed or left behind, and that is why it is crucial we placed them at the temporary shelters so that we can vaccinate them,” she added.

Meanwhile, Lee told Fatimah that short- and long-term solutions were the best way to tackle homelessness and stop the homeless people from coming back to the streets.

“These include providing a shelter to accommodate them and giving them life training skills so that they can go back to society,” he said.