BATU GAJAH: A home for the disabled in Batu Gajah has been accused by netizens of caging up its residents ‘like animals’.
Images of the enclosures at the home recently went viral after a Facebook user shared the images, together with her account of a visit to the home.
In her posting, the woman said she recently went to the home with her family to visit her aunt, who was a resident there.
She claimed that she saw enclosures with metal swing doors, each housing a child inside.
Some of the ‘cages’, she claimed, even had two children inside. She claimed she saw only one shower and one toilet.
The chairman of the home, however, told Harian Metro that the residents were placed in the enclosures for their own safety, and of others.
Batu Gajah Disabled Children’s Welfare Home chairman R. Sivalingam said the separation was done as some of the residents were severely mentally-challenged and can turn aggressive.
He said a majority of the residents were mentally-challenged.
“This isn’t abuse, but a safety measure. The person who had distributed the images may not have obtained the full picture of the situation,” he was quoted as saying.
Later, when the NST visited the home, Sivalingam said that the misunderstanding arose after he had asked the sister of one of the residents for a donation.
“I had asked the sister to sponsor a stall for a food fair to be held on Nov 27 and she was unhappy about it. She suddenly came up with this story about the children being abused,” he claimed.
Sivalingam said the home had been in operation since 1968 and operated on public support. He said there had been no problems thus far.
He also explained that the mentally-ill residents were only placed in the enclosures during mealtimes so as not to inconvenience the other residents.