Families badly need a half-way home

  • Community
  • Thursday, 12 Jul 2007

MIRI: Mentally-unsound people from poverty-stricken families ended up living in extremely desolate conditions, sometimes getting locked up in wooden cages in dirty and cramped conditions. 

A state assemblyman here was alerted to the plight of a mentally ill young girl who was locked up in a wooden cage-like shack because her mother does not know what to do with her. 

Shocking find: Chia taking notes about the hardship faced by squatters in Miri during a recent visit.

State Assemblyman for Pujut Andy Chia was saddened by what he saw when he visited the desperate mother who lives in a squatter colony in the outskirts of the city. 

These folks are living in very desolate conditions. The mother is a single parent who has been unable to find a job. Two of her kids are suffering from mental illness.  

Chia said there is an urgent need for a half-way home to shelter people in such desperate situations. 

“There are very needy and very desperate folks who are in real need of assistance from the government authorities. 

“We live in a rapidly progressing city like Miri but there are so many desperate people who are living under pathetic conditions. This issue must be dealt with properly,” he said. 

Chia also saw another very poor family whose sole breadwinner had lost his job after sustaining head injuries while working as a painter in a construction site. 

This man’s wife is also mentally ill, while his aged mother is sickly. The family have two small kids who will start schooling next year. Another 14-year-old daughter has never gone to school. 

The entire family lives in a cramped space that looks more like a storeroom than a home. The structure is built over a river and is inundated by water during high tide. 

Chia said he will liaise with the Sarawak Housing Commission to find ways to house these desperate folks and help them to cope with their daily struggle.  

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