KL’s derelicts at two shelters not forgotten during Raya


  • Metro News
  • Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Annuar presenting duit raya to the homeless at the Sentul Perdana Community Centre on the first day of Raya.

SHAFIQ, 32, (not his real name) has a degree in political science and used to work in an office in Kuala Lumpur but due to circumstances, found himself homeless.

His family does not know that he now stays at the Homeless Transit Centre in Jalan Pahang.

Shafiq feels his life has transformed for the better after arriving at the transit centre during the movement control order (MCO).

“I was living in my car because rental was too expensive in Kuala Lumpur. I was doing two jobs and would finish work late.

“When the MCO was announced, I looked for contacts for transit centres and came here.

“I am not embarrassed to be homeless because I am certain that I will save enough to afford a place to live in soon, ” said Shafiq who has been living in Kuala Lumpur for the last 15 years.

The divorced father-of-one said his homeless state had taught him to be resilient.

“My advice to others is to always have savings and a backup plan.

“Be financially literate and prepare for the unexpected such as the MCO, ” said Shafiq who was experiencing Raya celebration at the transit centre for the first time away from his family in Terengganu.

Some of the residents of the Homeless Transit Centre at Jalan Pahang having a Raya meal while observing social distancing.Some of the residents of the Homeless Transit Centre at Jalan Pahang having a Raya meal while observing social distancing.

He was among 50 occupants at the transit centre who were treated to a Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration by Institut Onn Jaafar (IOJ).

Another occupant at the centre was 43-year-old Nazri (not his real name) who lost his factory job in Penang prior to the MCO and came to Kuala Lumpur seeking job opportunities.

“I had savings of less than RM100 when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur a week before MCO.

“I was sleeping near the National Mosque and I was among those who were brought to this shelter by the authorities.

“I am looking for a job and once the MCO is lifted, I will be actively seeking employment, ” said Nazri, who planned to save money to rent a place later.

Lekir (not his real name), 36, also from Penang, was grateful to be accepted into the centre.

“Some of us who are staying here have decent jobs and can speak good Bahasa Malaysia and English.

“We became homeless because we could not afford the high rental in the city, ” said Lekir who is now trying to save money and hopes to rent a place in the future and build a better life.IOJ chief executive officer Charles Mohan said the 50 occupants at the transit centre were treated to a simple Raya celebration.

“We served packed food and practised the required standard operating procedure (SOP).

“In the past, we would invite about 30 volunteers comprising university students for this programme.

“However, this year we managed with five of our staff, ” he said, adding that since the MCO, IOJ had delivered over 6,000 meals to the centre and other temporary shelters for the homeless.

Also not forgotten were the homeless community at the Sentul Perdana Community Centre.

Some 108 people who were rescued from the streets were treated to a Raya do by Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan.

While still observing social distancing rules, they received pre-packed food, goodie bags and duit raya from the minister.

Frontliners on duty that day were also treated to the festive goodies.

In his speech, Annuar said of the 800 people rescued since late March, many had returned home.

“There are also many who are ready to work, while some who are willing to work have yet to find a suitable job, ’’ he elaborated.

The minister said some with problems such as being former drug addicts, needed more time to get better.

The government, he said, was willing to send them for rehabilitation to help them get better.

“We have allocated funds for this; it is our duty to help them get better and on their feet again to become better citizens, ” he added.

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