The wandering tribe that exists in Malaysia today is not found in the jungle. Its members are found on the streets of KL and other urban centers. They consist of the unemployed, the old and abandoned, teenagers rejected by their families or running away from their homes for various reasons. drug addicts, the mentally unstable, the terminally ill, the alcoholics and other social rejects. A study made by the Welfare Department identified close to 1,200 of them in KL city classified under soem broad categories as follows:
Unemployed 646 46.6%
Poor 246 17.7%
Poor, old and abandoned 145 10.5%
Poor and old 50 3.6%
Drug addicts 66 4.8%
Abandoned 61 4.4%
Mentally unstable 29 2.1%
Terminally ill 29 2.1%
Homeless 22 1.6%
Runaways 22 1.6%
Disabled, depression, alcoholics
refugees, unwanted by family, others 54 4.0%
The categories shown are broad and overlapping but the study does give us some ideas on the population of the tribe, some living in abandoned buildings, under the bridges and other secluded places as uncovered elsewhere. Some reasons for being 'down and out' have also been given though not categorized for useful analysis,
But overall, we can see or deduced three important causes of being down and out: (1) unemployed and out of a job (2) no basic skill or training for any job and (3) no proper place to stay. The Welfare Department wants to establish one-stop centers to help these unfortunates people, the CM of Malacca wants to take care of pregnant teens, and the Minister of Women' Affairs wants to provide hatchers for the unwanted babies. The Religious Department and Anti-Vice authority would of course want to book all the illicit lovers and put them under detention.
Are we all trying to cure the symptoms of these social ills or the actual disease? Have we been brave enough to ackowledge the cause of the disease and deal with it on a national scale. As regards the wandering tribe whose population had been identified, clearly the cause is no training and no job. Give a man or a teenager some training and a job with regular pay, and he will certainly change. As for the unmarried mothers who dumped their babies, the CM of Malacca seems to have the answer. Tightening up the laws to bring them to book will only make them run away. They have to be helped with compassion with a promise of anonymity.
The government has to study the matter in more depth than what the Welfare Department seemed to be able to do in cooperation with many non-governmental bodies. When government can spend billions of ringgit on physical development and hundreds of millions on more minor projects, it's most embarrassing that the problems of the most unfortunate members of society are left to the streets to solve.