Prior to mid-2014, homelessness received scant attention in Malaysia’s public sphere. However, following the controversial ban on mobile soup kitchen operations in the heart of Kuala Lumpur issued by the then Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku, homelessness quickly became a hot potato issue especially among concerned NGOS and volunteers, whose outreach efforts were restricted.
Although the soup kitchen ban was eventually lifted due to overwhelming negative public reaction, ongoing public discourse has revealed various inadequacies pertaining to government’s policies on supporting the poor and underprivileged. The gaps range from a low supply of low-cost housing and transport, to broader issues of social welfare and mental health support and services. The report will scrutinize and evaluate these issues, with an aim of recommending future policies that will help uplift the homeless from their state of poverty and so increase their quality of life.