Keeping poor urban kids safe from drug trap

Source: Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: A child rights NGO has urged the government to set up activity centres in poor urban areas for children to occupy their time safely after school.

According to Scott Wong, the executive director of Suriana Welfare Society, one of the main reasons children of the urban poor become drug abusers is that they are exposed to bad influences at the low-cost flats many of them live in.

“After school, they are unsupervised while their parents are away at work, and they meet up with older teens and others who are involved in drugs,” he told FMT.

“Because of the lack of positive influences, these drug users become the role models to these children.”

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Struggling without basic necessities

Source: The Star Online

Collecting water

Barely getting by: Gunasegaran collecting water for his daily use from a neighbour in Kampung Manis, Prai. Besides water Gunasegaran also has to tap power from electric cables attached to his neighbour’s house. Image via The Star Online

BUTTERWORTH: Despite being surrounded by development, poverty remains a problem for residents of Kampung Manis in Prai.

The 70-year-old village, previously known as Kampung Selut, is ringed by a sugar mill, a railway station and a port.

Located between Taman Inderawasih and the Prai River, its 1,000 residents live in dilapidated homes without proper sanitation or basic necessities.

Grass cutter R. Gunasegaran, 50, said his house turns into an “island” during downpours.

Gunasegaran also gets his electricity from cables connected to his neighbour’s house.

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Planting seeds of hope for elderly, homeless transgenders

Source: Written by Low Han Shaun for The Malaysian Insight

People at The Seed Transgender Home for the elderly

The Seed Transgender Home for the elderly, the first of its kind in Malaysia, can house a maximum of 10 people. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Kamal Ariffin, January 15, 2018.

FROM the time she discovered she was “different” at the age of 17, transgender Alice (not her real name) was prepared for a life alone, and was intent on ensuring she would be financially independent.

However, after working as a chef for 30 years, Alice finds herself today penniless, riddled with sickness and homeless at 50, after she was thrown out of her family home last year.

“I am 50 years old now, I have hepatitis C, heart problems and kidney problems from an accident that I had in 1996,” she said.

“My mother died last year, and my father died when I was 15,” she said, adding that after her mother’s death, her brother sold the family home, forcing her to become homeless.

Alice slept on the streets of Kuala Lumpur for a year before she found out about Seed Transgender Home for the elderly, the first of its kind in Malaysia.

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Labuan’s poor economy due to waste, rampant corruption, says PKR

Source: Free Malaysia Today

Free Malaysia Today

Labuan PKR chief Simsudin Sidek says official figures on poverty do not reflect real situation on ground.

KOTA KINABALU: The expanding rich-poor gap among the people in Labuan is due to the current government’s system that encourages resource leakage, wastage, corruption and unbridled cronyism, claims PKR.

Labuan PKR chief Simsudin Sidek said the situation worsened when the government decided to implement the goods and services tax (GST) which caused prices of consumer goods to rise suddenly.

Simsudin said it was maddening that the government continued to claim that the country was almost free of poverty when in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the poverty rate was still high.

In truth, he said, the government had still failed to address inequality and poverty in these states.

He said Sabahans, Sarawakians and Labuanites were marginalised although the nation had rapidly developed and, by right, every citizen should be able to enjoy the country’s wealth.  Read more

Poverty Line Challenge 2.0: Can you survive on low wages?


Poverty Line Challenge 2.0: Can you survive on low wages?


In conjunction with Local Democracy Festival 2016, SUARAM Penang is organizing “Poverty Line Challenge 2.0: Can you survive on low wages?”


To provide a platform for participants in understanding the life of poverty, experiencing living in poverty, and to create awareness among the public.                       

Eligible participant

Anyone aged 18 years old and above is eligible to participate.

Tentative Program

15th July 2016 – 25th July 2016 Registration
27th July 2016 – 31st July 2016 Poverty Challenge
4th August 2016 (9.00am) Report submission deadline
13th August 2016 Prize giving ceremony


Prize giving ceremony

Date    : 13 August 2016 (Saturday)
Time    : 7.30pm (to be confirmed)
Venue : to be confirmed


Awards and Method of participation

Each participant will receive a certificate of participation.

Category 1: Poverty Challenge

1. Best Involvement Award RM 300

The participant is awarded based on the involvement of the participants by experiencing the living of low income earners during the period of the program. We would like to see the participants’ effort in minimizing the other expenses. For example, we are encouraging participants to use public transport or carpool to work instead of using own vehicles. Moreover, we also encourage participants to reduce other expenses on accommodation, telecommunication, entertainment, etc. Also, we would like to see the participant’s effort in understanding the life of low-wage workers such as the problems faced by them, barriers that stop them from earning more money etc.

Method of participation

  1. Participant will have to commit this five-day poverty challenge from 27th July 2016 to 31st July 2016 by living their life as usual, but with some boundaries. Participants are only allowed to spend maximum RM7.50 per day or equal to RM37.50 during the challenge.
  2. Participants are encouraged to experience the working life of low-wage job such as cleaner, rubbish collector, porter in private sector for one or two day(s). Participants can experience low-wage job arranged by organizer (limited seats only), on first come first served basis. On the other hand, participants are allowed to find the job by themselves. (ps: Experience low-wage job is not compulsory, but additional marks will be added.)
  3. Participants needed to submit a report after the 5-day challenge.


2. Most Popular Award RM100

All the reports will be posted on our Facebook page and the report that receives the highest number of “LIKE” will be receiving this award.


Category 2: Interview section

Best interview Award RM 300

  1. Participants are required to interview low-wage workers (salary less than RM 1500) about their situation, wishes and the problems faced by them. For example, how do they live with such a low income? What are their feelings to live in such a tight budget? Do they take any initiative to improve their situation?
  2. Besides, participants can interview low-wage workers about their background, why they choose the low-wage job rather than a high-wage job? Did their family background affect them in deciding the job? Is it a norm for them to work in this kind of job for a few generations?
  3. Some say that people are poor because of laziness, skill-lessness, unintelligence, etc. What is their opinion regarding this saying?
  4. Participants are required to submit a writing report after interviewing low-wage workers.



For enquiries, please contact SUARAM office by phone at 0112-0844337/04-6582285(office hour: 9.00am-5.00pm) or by email at You may also contact us through our Facebook Page:


Terms and Conditions

All participants are required to follow the listed terms and conditions below.

  1. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and above.
  2. Participants are required to submit the registration form before 25th July 2016 via email to or send to SUARAM Penang, 91C-02-21, University Heights, Jalan Sungai Dua, 11700 Penang.
  3. Poverty challenge
    1. Participants are required to fully commit the poverty challenge for 5 days from 27th July 2016 to 31st July 2016. During this period, participants are allowed to spend maximum RM37.50 or RM7.50 per day.
    2. Participants are required to record all of their expenses including food, accommodation, telecommunication, transportation and entertainment throughout the 5-day challenge in Appendix “A”. The expenses record is included the pre-buy food and free food. Participants are encouraged to calculate the average price if the cost is shared with others.
    3. However, if the items were given by public, the expenditures need not to be recorded.
    4. Participants who spend more than RM37.50 are still encouraged to continue their challenge.
    5. Participants may experience low-wage job arranged by organizer, however, places are limited, by first come first served basis. Participants are allowed to find the job by themselves.
    6. Participants are required to write down your feeling, experiences and reflection throughout the minimum wage challenge according to the template in Appendix “B” in your preferred language, either in English, Malay or Chinese. (Participants are welcomed to use different form of documentation such as pictures and video)
  1. Interview
    1. Participants are required to write down their feelings, experiences and reflections throughout the interview session in your preferred format, language, either in English, Malay or Chinese. (Participants are welcomed to use different form of documentation such as pictures and video)
    2. Participants may start to conduct the interview by anytime; however, they have to submit their report before 4th August 2016, 9.00 am.
    3. This category opens to public, including those who do not participate in 5-days poverty challenge. Instead, poverty challenge participants may selectively participate in this category.
  2. The deadline to submit the reports is 4th August 2016 9.00 am.
  3. The report can be submitted in softcopy through e-mail to or in hardcopy to SUARAM Penang, 91C-02-21, University Heights, Jalan Sungai Dua, 11700 Penang.
  4. Participant will be disqualified if found cheating.
  5. The organizer reserves the right to amend the rules and regulations or arrangements relating to the program without prior notification.
  6. For more updates, please visit our event page at

What APEC means to poor people in Asia — Cherian Mathews

Source: The Malay Mail Online


An opinion piece - file pic

An opinion piece – file pic

NOVEMBER 18 — Manila is hosting the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting, which is going to be attended by prominent world leaders. For Oxfam, this is a good time for APEC leaders to re-examine the prevailing development and economic paradigm that has increased the wealth of a handful while millions remain in poverty, creating a landscape of staggering inequality.

Steady economic growth in most of the countries across Asia in the last quarter of this century has created jobs, new wealth and reduced poverty.

But a study from the Asian Development Bank(ADB) found that inequality in the region between the mid-1990s and the late 2000s has risen by as much as 18 per cent and that 1.6 billion people continue to live on less than US$2 (RM8.77) a day.

Gini coefficient — a common inequality measure — has worsened during 1990s and 2000s in the countries where more than 80 per ent of the population lived in Asia. That inequality increased in the midst of the region’s much vaunted economic growth means that something is amiss. Read more