SEVERAL politicians on opposite sides of the political divide in Sarawak have been criticising each other in the local media over who has not been doing enough to help the needy in these difficult times brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These politicians ought to stop as this is not the time for political wrestling.
There are very urgent needs to look into as many people are suffering and in need of the most basic items, such as food.In Miri, there are more urban poor and homeless folks in the city.
I have come across a few new faces recently within the city centre and referred one of the cases to the Miri Welfare Department but it seems to be a difficult one to deal with.
According to a welfare officer, the case has a lot to do with family and drug issues.“We are looking into the case and trying to help take him off the street.
“His family does not want him. That is why he keeps ending up homeless,” said the officer.
Late last year and the year before, I came across another several homeless folks living in Miri city centre. They were also stateless.
One case I remember clearly is of a single mother and her adopted son who were living in the market place in the city centre, sleeping at the stalls where the mother was selling vegetables picked from the jungle.The boy was about four or five years old.
Both had no proper personal documents and were surviving hand-to-mouth.The plight of this duo was made worse by the fact that the child was still very young and oblivious to the predicament that he will face in the coming years, especially when it comes to attending school.
His foster mum was uneducated, had no proper house to live in, no immediate family in Miri as she was from another district, and had no money.I tried to get a certain politician to help them but sadly, until today, there is no solution.
This case has been pushed from the politician’s office to the Welfare Department but still they cannot find a way to help the homeless woman and her stateless child.
This situation of homeless folks and lack of official identification documents is widespread in Sarawak and needs political will to solve.
All parties in Sarawak must work closely together to find a solution to birth certificate and MyKad woes in this state, as well as the plight of the homeless and the urban poor.
Put aside political differences and join forces to identify the needy and the stateless, and help bring their plight to the relevant ministries in Kuching and Putrajaya.
I hope both sides of the political divide will carry out another concerted public campaign to identify and help the homeless and the stateless in Miri as well as the rest of Sarawak.
These issues must transcend politics.