Understand individuals to combat homeless lifestyle, expert says

Arinburagan sleeps in a field in Dataran Merdeka in the morning because he works as a car park attendant at night, and it’s too expensive to travel back to the shelter at a Hindu temple in Puchong. ― Picture by Choo Choy May
Arinburagan sleeps in a field in Dataran Merdeka in the morning because he works as a car park attendant at night, and it’s too expensive to travel back to the shelter at a Hindu temple in Puchong. ― Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — The homeless should be studied on an individual basis, rather than be labelled as a group which tarnished the image of the city, noted Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia’s social psychology expert Prof Dr Mohamed Fadzil Che Din.

He said the group existed in any social system and steps to overcome the situation stemmed from identifying the source of their homeless lifestyle.

“We have to accept the existence of this group, more so in major cities as there are many social gaps. Aspects of employment, sustenance and transport could be some of the reasons behind their being homeless,” he said when contacted by Bernama.

He said a failure to identify the real source of the problem resulted in various efforts to help the homeless who faced a dead end.

Nonetheless, the homeless are small as a group when taking into consideration the population of Kuala Lumpur.

In seeking a solution, Mohamed Fadzil proposed the ministry with its agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGO) discuss how to create effective understanding and cooperation.

The resident counselor of the American National Board for Certified Counsellors also called on all government agency officers tasked with combating the homeless issue to emulate NGO volunteers who were genuinely interested in assisting the group without any rewards.

He said government agencies such as the welfare department had failed to function effectively, despite having a large number of paid employees as some of them were disinterested and not innovative enough.         

“Government agencies should cooperate closely with proactive NGOs as such those which always gathered data.

“As I said, there are not many of them and there should be no problem in profiling them,” he added.

Mohamed Fadzil said cooperation and understanding between interested groups could facilitate the establishment of a guideline or action plan to assist this less fortunate group.

He said the action plan put up should be sustainable and not merely a seasonal exercise to comprehensively resolve the homeless issue. — Bernama

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