Transit centres for Johor Baru’s needy

StarMetro’s report yesterday.

THE Johor government, through Johor Baru City Council (MBJB), will set up a transit shelter in Larkin to help the homeless and unemployed.

Johor Baru mayor Datuk Adib Azhari Daud said the Bangsa Johor Homeless Transit Centre, slated to be completed in 2022, would allow the government to monitor and carry out suitable intervention efforts to help the needy.

“The homeless and jobless individuals do not only need food aid.

“A majority of them actually require psychological help and skills support to fulfil job requirements, ” he noted.

He said the comprehensive intervention plan was one of the solutions offered to help the group out of their current situation and to gain a secure footing in society.

He called for the cooperation of the Welfare Department, National Welfare Foundation and non-governmental organisations to achieve the objective of setting up the transit centre, in order to ensure that Johor Baru remained a safe and sustainable city.

Adib said this in response to StarMetro’s report yesterday about Johor Baru’s streets that had once been abuzz with business activities and business from across the border, were now populated by individuals who would sit and wait for free food and other handouts from organisations as well as generous passers-by.

In a statement, MBJB urged NGOs, private companies and individual donors to coordinate with the Johor Baru Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS) over the food and item donations to the homeless and jobless in the city.

It said that coordination among donors was much needed to prevent wastage and an overlap of items given to the needy.

The city council highlighted that MRCS voiced its concern over an oversupply of about 3,000 food packets handed out to the needy in Johor Baru on New Year’s Eve last year due to lack of coordination among donor groups.

“Donors should get in touch with MRCS before handing out the items as it had been tasked to coordinate the food and items distribution throughout the movement control order period.

“The decision came from a meeting chaired by the Johor Baru district officer and this had been ongoing from March last year.

“MRCS has organised a distribution schedule so NGOs and donors can choose the available slot to distribute their items, to avoid wastage, ” said MBJB.

It added that this was also to ensure the Covid-19 pandemic standard operating procedures were observed when handing out the assistance.

Based on observation through aid distribution efforts with other government agencies and NGOs, MBJB said there were about 340 homeless and jobless individuals in the city centre actively taking free handouts from the public, especially on weekends.

The council also reminded recipients of the food aid to dispose of food packaging properly instead of littering and dirtying the city.

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