KUALA LUMPUR: A shelter to house the homeless is expected to be ready within six months, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
"We are going to provide a place for them to sleep and shower as well as maybe lockers for them to keep their things," he said, after dropping by at a soup kitchen in Jalan Tun Perak on Wednesday night.
The Prime Minister, who arrived at around 10.40pm, was accompanied by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim and city mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib.
Najib walked around the Cahaya Suria building area for about an hour, speaking with the homeless there who were being handed food by volunteers from Pertiwi Soup Kitchen.
Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid said she was pleasantly surprised by the Prime Minister’s visit and hoped that the Government would come up with practical solutions to benefit all parties.
"We are optimistic that this visit means (the Government) is going to have a serious look at the issue," she said.
Ahmad Phesal said DBKL would be identifying a few places in the Chow Kit area as potential shelters for the homeless.
"We hope to have three or four shoplots, and a former hotel as a shelter and the bottom floor can be for services such as counselling.
Rohani said that Najib had told her that he could not bear to see the rakyat sleeping on the street.
"The homeless feel comfortable in the city and do not want to be far away from the area. They do not want to stay in an institution either. We just want to give them a roof over their heads here," she said.