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Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

Malaysia

Vagrants in JB can earn up to $2,000

The New Paper | Thursday, Jun 5, 2014

Welfare officers initially thought he was homeless, but investigations showed that he had missed the last bus to Malacca.

Forty per cent of so-called vagrants in Johor Baru hold regular jobs in Singapore.

Indeed, they earn between S$1,000 and S$2,000 each month, Johor Women and Family executive councillor Asiah Ariff said.

These homeless in Johor Baru are different from those in cities like Kuala Lumpur, as many of them earn enough to sustain a living, but choose to sleep on the streets, Malaysia's The Star quoted her as saying.

Ms Asiah explained that this is because most of them earn hour-based wages and only need a place to rest for a few hours before crossing the border to resume their work in Singapore.

"Some of them are from Sabah and Sarawak, and do not have family members staying nearby, so they rather catch a few hours of sleep in recreational parks or corridors outside buildings," she said in her speech in the state assembly on Sunday.

She was replying to a question about the state government's efforts to curb vagrancy.

Ms Asiah added that these people hold jobs such as cleaners, factory workers, construction workers, odd-job workers and lorry drivers.

FACILITIES

Ms Asiah said that among the facilities that Johor has prepared for vagrants is the Anjung Kasih, a dormitory-style shelter in Jalan Segget, Johor Baru, where the homeless, drug addicts and the unemployed could stay for up to two weeks.

"There are 64 beds for male vagrants and 18 for females. There are also three rooms for families and those staying there will be provided with an early intervention programme to help them get on their feet and to find a more permanent place to stay," she added.

Separately, Johor Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism executive committee chairman Tee Siew Kiong said the state wants to promote Gunung Ledang, more commonly known as Mount Ophir, as a main tourism destination under the Johor Tourism Masterplan to attract more people to visit the iconic historical and recreational spot in Ledang district.

He suggested upgrading the attraction's existing facilities and infrastructure to cater to local and foreign visitors.

Mr Tee said the spot offers a "mystical nature" factor that has great potential to be marketed as a tourism product.


This article was first published on June 3, 2014.
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