KANGAR,  April 13  — The public has expressed concern over the safety of the mentally unstable homeless who are seen wandering in the streets during the Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain the spread of COVID-19.

A civil servant, Zulaikha Ekkau (RPT: Zulaikha Ekkau), 38, said she recently saw a man, who she believed is mentally unstable, on the streets in Kangar town.

“He was seen scavenging for food… I hope the authorities can take appropriate action to help this group by providing a special shelter for them during the MCO,” she told Bernama.

Sharing her concern is  Narimah Rashid, 64, who said she often saw this group of people around the market  when she went marketing.

While the public is taking all the precautionary measures, including washing their hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as well as using face mask, this homeless people only think about getting food.

“What is important for them is to fill their stomach for the day, they do not understand the need to wear face mask or about self-hygiene,” said the housewife, while wiping her tears with the sleeve of her blouse.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Perlis Social Welfare Department (JKM) said there is no special shelter to accommodate the homeless in the state during MCO and many who were caught wandering in the streets have been sent back to their families.

According to the department, there are two categories of homeless people, comprising the normal homeless people and the disabled or mental patients.

“For the normal homeless, the matter has been resolved, the homeless that cannot be resolved is the disabled mental patients as it is not under the jurisdiction of JKM,” said the spokesman.

He said the homeless with families in Perlis have been sent home, but they are a few who returned to the streets.

“We have also sent the homeless people who were caught wandering in Perlis to their families in Kedah and Penang,” he added.


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