Cheah: Homelessness is a complex issue
PETALING JAYA: Kechara Welfare Centre will stop its soup kitchen but continue with other forms of assistance to the homeless.
Project director Justin Cheah said in a statement that Malaysians should not forget their ethical and moral obligations to fellow Malaysians.
"Homelessness is a complex issue and will not be resolved with simple solutions.
"To reduce its cause to mere laziness does not paint a true understanding of the issue and any solutions will ultimately not be effective.
"Removing the work of the soup kitchens and welfare centres will not solve the problem of homelessness instead, it will move the problem to other states because these people will not become independent just because they stopped receiving a few free meals each week," he said.
Cheah was responding to a statement from Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that soup kitchens will no longer be allowed to operate within a 2km radius of the city centre.
Cheah said through the soup kitchens, Kechara had expanded to assisting people with job placements, medical care, food banks, and assisted by placing people at welfare or senior citizens' homes.
"Many of our clients are low income earners who are unable to afford food and rental and they come to us for their daily meals.
"Some were sexually abused and had to leave their homes while others were drug addicts or elderly parents who were abandoned," he said.
He added Kechara was happy to continue working with the leaders to address the issue of homelessness.
"At the end of the day the only permanent solution is to have the homeless find jobs and Kechara has always been here since day one to help them.
"This is not about who is right or wrong as the real issue are the lives of the men and women we are dealing with, who have lost all hope to survive, and to ever regain their dignity," he added.