MIRI: The sight of little children rummaging in rubbish dumps has raised concern among several people in this city.
Three months ago, two boys, aged seven and nine, were found lying motionless in the rubbish area at Imperial Mall, apparently high after sniffing glue.
Now, a little girl has been found going through rubbish dumps in the red-light area of this city in the evenings and nights.
Checks by The Star found her scavenging through stacks of rubbish bags and cardboard boxes at a rubbish dumping zone near the wet market several times over the past weeks.
The girl could not be more than five or six years old.
The streets in the old part of the city are infamous for vice activities.
Further checks showed that there would be a woman close by watching the little girl.
Attempts by The Star on several occasions to get close to the girl and the woman failed.
Whenever this reporter tried to approach the girl, the woman would grab her hand and they would take off into the back lanes.
Nearby shopkeepers said the little girl might have been forced to live in such pathetic conditions.
A shop assistant at a shoe outlet said the two would appear late in the evening or night.
They search through all the rubbish dumps along the streets and gather whatever seems valuable to them.
The little girl goes through the rubbish because she is small enough to move between the piles of discarded items, he said.
As for the two boys found at the Imperial Mall rubbish area, police picked them up and referred them to the Miri Welfare Department after they were found by state Assistant Minister for Infrastructure Development and Communications Lee Kim Shin.
However, the welfare officials returned the two boys back to their father two days later.
They live in a squatter area in Pujut Corner.
Miri Resident Ose Murang then asked welfare officials to find out the actual conditions in which the family was living and what help they needed.
Murang also asked the media to follow the officials when they went to check on the family.
However, until today, no visit has been organised.
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