PENANG will become the first state in Malaysia to have a transit centre that provides shelter for the homeless.
The RM4.4mil project in Jalan C.Y. Choy in George Town will feature facilities and services for the homeless including a shelter with 78 beds and some basic amenities for people with disabilities (OKU).
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state was concerned about the marginalised community who was an important part of the society.
“The project is a collaboration between the state government and the private sector.
“Despite the political uncertainty, we must not forget our duty to help those in need, ” he said during the groundbreaking ceremony for the centre recently.
State local government, housing, town and country planning committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said the council-owned pre-war building would be converted into the transit centre for the homeless.
“There will also be healthcare and leisure facilities, a laundry area, a recycling centre and other accommodation areas.
“Besides, we will also provide counselling services and guidance to help the residents find suitable jobs to sustain themselves, ” he said.
Jagdeep added that the transit centre for the homeless would be adopting the ‘Triple Net Zero’ concept consisting of zero energy, zero waste and zero water.
“Solar panels will be installed to save energy, the rainwater harvesting and utilisation system (SPAH) to save water, and a recycling centre to collect used items which can be their source of income, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Penang welfare, caring society and environment committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Society had been tasked with the operations and administrative work at the transit centre.
“We will check the homeless on the spot and if they fulfil the requirements, they can temporarily stay at the transit centre here.
“The maximum time they can stay here is 14 days, and they will need to reapply again.
“We will have different sections for females, males and OKU.
“The project is expected to be completed by August next year and fully operational beginning Jan 1,2022, ” he said.
Also present were Senator Lim Hui Ying, Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi, Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng, Batu Lanchang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong, Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng, MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang, MBPP secretary Datuk Addnan Mohd Razali and Buddhist Tzu Chi Merit Society Malaysia’s Penang commissioner Khoo Boo Leong.