Stop plans to drive homeless from KL city centre

City Hall should sit down with soup kitchens and discuss how they can support these organisations in their attempt to alleviate the suffering of our fellow Malaysians, writes Chris Chong.

Homeless people queue up at a soup kitchen in KL.

Homeless people queue up at a soup kitchen in KL.

It seems like City Hall has not relented in its efforts to clear the homeless from the heart of the city. After the public outcry over its proposed plan to shut down soup kitchens in the city centre, City Hall has now installed bench dividers (painted in luminescent green) to discourage the homeless from lying on the benches.

As Charles Hector noted, it is the responsibility of the government to assist the poor and marginalised but the Malaysian government “seems to be more concerned about painting a good picture of Malaysia that depicts development and success; so let’s hide the ‘victims’ – the poor, the marginalised, the excluded, the hungry”.

Hector also goes on to discuss the causes of poverty and homelessness in the country and what can be done about it. The government will do well to pay attention to what he has to say about this social problem which affects ordinary Malaysians.

Resolving the problem of poverty requires political will and time. In the meantime, City Hall should stop immediately all its plans to drive the homeless from the city centre. Rather they should sit down with soup kitchens and discuss how they can support these organisations in their attempt to alleviate the suffering of our fellow Malaysians.

Turning to the judiciary, it is shocking to hear retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram alleging that former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad had allowed racial and religious prejudice to influence his judgement in a civil case which he heard as a high court judge in the 1990s. Such an allegation is both disturbing and detrimental to public confidence in the independence of the judiciary.

We hope that the relevant authorities will probe this allegation and endeavour to safeguard public confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary.

Finally, all of us at Aliran would like to wish our Muslim friends Selamat Hari Raya. Maaf zahir dan batin.

Chris Chong

Co-editor, e-Newsletter 

31 July 2014

Christopher Chong

Christopher Chong, an academic, is co-editor of Aliran’s weekly e-Newsletter.

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