KUALA LUMPUR: Enforcement officers rounded up 183 homeless people in the city centre in an operation here last night, and conveyed them to shelters.
The street dwellers were picked up at Masjid India, Masjid Jamek, Kolej Segi, Kotaraya, Bangkok Bank and Masjid Negara.
Health Ministry personnel who joined the operation also screened individuals for fevers as part of Covid-19 precautions, before sending them to transit centres for the homeless at Jalan Pahang and Anjung Singgah.
City Hall announced that it organised the operation to save the homeless, along with several other agencies.
A total of 72 personnel from the police and Welfare Department were involved in the operation, which began on Thursday night at 11pm and ended at 3am today.
Those detained included 168 locals – of which 151 were men and 17 women – while the others were foreigners comprising 11 men and 4 women.
Last week, Federal Territories Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa said that the compliance rate for the homeless to the Movement Control Order (MCO) is unsatisfactory, hence enforcement officers were tasked with getting them off the streets.
The New Straits Times today highlighted the plight of the homeless and how they are finding it difficult to gain access to basic needs.
This is because the MCO has blocked soup kitchens and charities from distributing food, medical supplies and hygiene kits.
There are more than 2,000 homeless people in Kuala Lumpur according to City Hall.
Previously, former Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said there had been poor response to an invitation for homeless people to dwell at shelters which could house their entire population.
He said that this was because the homeless preferred to stay out in the open.
Meanwhile, health screenings are also being conducted at the Selayang wholesale market from today until March 29. The screenings will continue throughout the market’s operating hours, which are from 8am to 4pm and 4pm to 12 midnight.
All those entering the market, even in cars and lorries, will be screened from 12am from March 27 onwards.
It is learnt that if goods suppliers or transporters record a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius, officers will spray or disinfect the lorry. Masks will also given before suppliers can proceed to display their goods for sale.
City Hall is also expected to control the passageway into the market area to avoid crowding, while market goers who chart temperatures above 37.5 degrees will be told to go home.