Johor Welfare Department says it rounded up fewer homeless folk last year

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 12 Mar 2020

A homeless man sleeping on cardboard boxes on a pavement along Jalan Trus, Johor Baru. — THOMAS YONG/The Star

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Welfare Department (JKM) has identified 10 hotspots frequented by the homeless here.

The areas are Jalan Wong Ah Fook, Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Jalan Meldrum, Jalan Trus, Jalan Dhoby, Masjid Sultan Abu Bakar, Dataran Bandaraya Johor Baru and the Larkin bus terminal.

JKM also gave statistics which showed that there was a decrease in the number of homeless individuals rescued by the department in 2019.

Its director Mohamad Hapil in a statement said that a total of 83 homeless individuals were rescued last year compared to 122 in 2018.

“These were from various operations carried out in the Johor Baru area to rescue and rehabilitate the homeless,” he said.

StarMetro went down to the locations which were listed as hotspots to interview business owners and the public.

Some of business owners said many of the homeless work as parking touts.

Sapuan Ponin, 54, who runs a stall that sells banana fritters from 6am to 3pm near Jalan Trus said that they were a common sight.

“Some just wander around the area while others book parking spots and ask motorists who wish to park to pay a small fee.

“There are a few who ask for food and we give what we can,” he said.

Mohd Farok Zakhariah, 28, who has worked in a phone shop along Jalan Wong Ah Fook for the past two years, said most of the homeless do not disturb anyone.

A taxi driver who only wished to be known as Wee, said that he usually sees the homeless at the Larkin bus terminal late at night.

“You can see them sleeping at the bus terminal usually after 1am or 2am,” he said.

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