Woman lived in Changi Airport for 8 years - whatever happened to security?
We find hardcore poor Malaysians seeking shelter in every corner - under flyovers, parks, places of worship, bus terminals, walkways and many other public places.
And many of these “vagrants” are the elderly folk - both men and women.
“It is these people who really need welfare aid the most,” Gerakan Deputy Speaker Syed Abdul Razak Alsagoff said.
“But news that a woman had made Changi Airport her home for eight years is shocking and unbelievable,” he added.
“Changi is rated one of the world’s best international airport. Whatever happened to security? Whatever happened to Singapore’s reputable administration, in this case its agencies like the Ministry of Social and Family Development, as well as Family Service Centres?
“Are these signs of Singapore’s faltering public efficiency?”
Syed Razak, who is Gerakan’s nominee to contest N.37 Bukit Lanjan in the coming 14th General Election (GE14), said both state and federal governments “have roles to play in alleviating the plight of the needy and hardcore poor”.
“They can’t even find a roof to shelter themselves. These are the real society that need aid. And many of such ‘vagrants’ are senior citizens and the disabled,” he added.
Syed Razak said the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry must take the lead with proactive action to ensure aid was extended to the truly needy or destitute.
“The “Changi Airport resident” report has, in a way, tarnished Singapore’s administrative efficiency and image as a developed nation.
“Our Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and other authorities must thus be wary of such pitfalls so that Malaysia is not subjected to such negative news,” he added.
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Saturday, 7 January 2017 | MYT 1:18 PM
Woman has lived at Changi Airport for 8 years, says report
|After renting out her HDB flat in 2008, the woman in her 50s said she has lived at Changi Airport since. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO|
She is among more than 10 "regulars" at the airport, the Chinese evening daily reported.
The woman in her 50s, who preferred to remain anonymous, told the paper that she rented out her three-room flat in Tampines eight years ago and moved to the airport.
She was hit by the 2008 financial crisis, and had cash flow problems. She was "desperate", she said.
At first, she was just going to stay for a few nights, but it became eight years, Wanbao said.
Now, she has a trolley full of clothes, toiletries, food and other daily necessities.
She eats at the airport food court and finds living there quite convenient as there is a supermarket, showers, air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi, Wanbao said.
She has rental income of more than $1,000, and is not in financial difficulty, but hopes to have a roof over her head.
"I intend to sell the flat and apply for a smaller two-room unit, to make life easier," she said.
Changi Airport Group said that when its staff see people who seek shelter at the airport, they would urge them not to do so.
"We will work with agencies like the Ministry of Social and Family Development, as well as Family Service Centres, to find the best way to help them," it said in a statement.
There are others who make the airport their home, the woman said, including a couple who "co-habit" there.
Another regular, a man in his 60s, told Wanbao he has a rental flat in Beach Road but fell out with his roommate.
To avoid his roommate, he started sleeping at the airport recently, but goes home in the day.
He also prefers to sleep in air-con on hot nights, he said.
There have been earlier reported cases of people who camp out at Changi Airport.Two years ago, a homeless couple who stayed at the airport for several months made headlines. They moved in after falling out with relatives. - The Straits Times/Asia News Network"