KUCHING: The support system in Sarawak for homeless people has been put in place since 2019, says Minister for Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah.
She said one was the provision of a transit point (TTG), which has been successfully set up in Sibu recently.
“At the federal level, there was a recent announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that a blueprint and committee on the homeless will be established.
“As for us at the state level, we have started in 2019. We are at a stage where we already have TTG in Sibu.
“Whereas for the TTG in other areas such as Kuching, Miri, Bintulu, it is at various stages of implementation such as the design stage or tender process.”
She told the media this after officiating at the opening of the Special Education Integrated Programme (SEIP) for special needs children at SJK Chung Hua No. 1 here today.
On another note, she said now that the state had provided TTG for the homeless, the ministry needed to also look into tackling issues of homeless individuals with mental issues.
“From our profiling, one third of the homeless that we saved have mental issues. And from there we will refer them to the Health Department for treatment so that they can go back to society after treatment.
“The problem is that if they are not with their family, and when they are outside, they might forget or are unable to take their prescribed medication correctly.
“Apart from that, homeless individuals who have mental issues cannot be sent to the TTG as it is not gazetted as a place for rehabilitation.”
“When it comes to mental issues, this needs to be handled by experts in the matter.
“Sarawak does not have a halfway home for those (homeless individuals) who have mental issues.
“Therefore, we need to work closely with the Ministry of Health on this matter,” Fatimah added.