KUALA LUMPUR: An old lorry stands in the driveway and there’s trash piled up behind it. The double-storey house – once an old folk’s home – appears to be deserted.
But beyond the padlocked gate and the front door secured only by a nylon string, there was a scene out of a nightmare – five aged and infirm people abandoned to live in squalor.
The house has no water supply and food is brought to the five every now and then.
Neighbours who had believed the house in Taman Wahyu had been vacant for at least a year, were shocked to find them amidst the stench and garbage.
A resident, P. Duraimohan, 53, decided to investigate claims of strange sounds, including muffled cries, coming from the house.
“We informed the security guards and I decided to enter the house.
“When I asked if anyone was in, I was shocked to see an old woman coming down the stairs,” said the secretary of the residents’ asso- ciation of the housing area yesterday.
Duraimohan said he found four other old people on the first floor – three men (two Chinese and an Indian) – and an emaciated Indian woman.
“They were skinny and unbathed. One man was lying on the floor and surrounded by so much rubbish that I did not even notice him there at first,” he said.
Duraimohan said the premises used to be one of three houses used as an old folk’s home for more than 10 years.
“About two years ago, the houses were vacated but we thought the operators had kept this one as a store,” he added.
Leong Soo Ah, 66, one of the women found in the house told The Star that she and the four others had been living there for two months, adding that it was a “temporary arrangement”.
“We were supposed to move to Batang Berjuntai,” she said.
When asked about what they had been eating, Leong, who wore a red vest over a blue t-shirt and shorts, said someone delivered food and water in the evenings.
She said there was no water supply to the house, adding that they kept the lights off for fear of attracting thieves.
Leong had a mattress in the living area upstairs, which was also filled with piles of old clothing.
She shared the space with P. Muniandy, who slept on the floor.
“We have never gone out in a long time. We just stay inside,” said Leong.
The lower floor of the house was found dumped with old newspapers, clothing and furniture.
The unidentified gaunt Indian woman was found sitting cross-legged on a sofa in one of two rooms in the rear of the house while the two Chinese men, identified as Ah Meng and Ah Seng, were found lying on a bare queen-sized mattress.
While the Indian man and woman were too weak to speak, the two Chinese men were able to talk.
Ah Meng said they were thirsty but had eaten some food earlier.
“Sometimes we have food, sometimes there is none,” said Ah Seng, pointing to stacks of empty food containers and water bottles.
There were packets of half-finished food strewn on the floor.
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