Concerned about the fate of the homeless in Johor Bahru City, the Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB) together with several government agencies such as the Social Welfare Department (JKM), Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Johor Islamic Religious Council (MAIJ), Yayasan Kebajikan Negara (YKN) and non-governmental organisations such as the Red Crescent Society (PBSM) as well as the NGO Alliance for Homeless Feeding have worked together to help and reduce the burden of people with no residence by providing daily food assistance at Laman Tun Sri Lanang and the city area.
The Issue of Food Waste
There are a total of 200 – 250 homeless people in downtown Johor Bahru who needs continuous food assistance. PBSM reported that on New Year’s Eve 2021, 3200 food packages ended up to waste due to lack of coordination. Moreover, Merlin Hoo, Head Coordinator for Kechara Soup Kitchen Johor said, “From our observation, there is currently an over-distribution of food, caused by kind individuals who mean well but have unknowingly caused disruption”.
MBJB to Open a Centre for People without Residence
In addition, the state government has initiated an initiative to help the homeless by providing a Johor National Homeless Transit Centre in Larkin.
Apart from food assistance, the majority of them also need psychological treatment, support and skills. This comprehensive intervention measure is one of the solutions to help the homeless.
The Centre is expected to be completed by 2022, and MBJB welcomes cooperation from government agencies and any non-governmental parties to jointly achieve this objective.
Meanwhile, Johor Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Zaiton Ismail said that only the Laman Tun Sri Lanang area will be permitted for street food feeding and the Johor Bahru City Council (MBJB) enforces will issue a compound of RM250 individuals or NGOs who distribute food in other areas.
In a press statement, Zaiton Ismail said that NGOs who wished to operate will need to apply for permission through forms made available at the Johor Bahru District Office from the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) or through their website: https://portalbencana.nadma.gov.my. Once approved, the form will need to be submitted to the Johor Bahru District Office for a consent letter to be issued. The consent letter will then need to be submitted to PDRM to obtain approval.
Upon approval, NGOs or individuals who wish to participate in providing aid must inform the Johor Social Welfare Department (Mr Dafi 012-799 9067) and Red Crescent Society (PBSM) (Mr Rosley 018-768 5034) for further instructions.