PETALING JAYA: Ensuring job opportunities in other states can help to prevent the poor from moving to Kuala Lumpur merely to live off handouts, two social scientists said yesterday.
Government initiatives are needed to provide more employment avenues in rural towns, Universiti Sains Malaysia lecturer Dr Syazwani Drani told theSun.
“The availability of employment opportunities in rural areas will not only reduce migration to the city but also improve rural economy and empower villagers to be more successful.”
Syazwani was commenting on reports of a growing number of homeless people in Kuala Lumpur due to easy access to food and basic necessities provided by non-governmental organisations (NGO).
“My research showed that most of the respondents expressed that they did not need to worry about food because it was provided by NGOs, individuals and other corporate bodies. They just need to choose the locations to get the food.”
She said the needs of people living in rural areas have to be met first.
“A psychosocial assessment should be carried out to see the extent of their readiness for job opportunities offered in their areas.”
On the possibility of Covid-19 transmission due to such migration, she said the contagion can spread either from village to town or vice- versa because the virus is easily transmitted by anyone.
The Health Ministry has taken proactive and comprehensive initiatives to curb the pandemic by ensuring that all Malaysians, including the homeless, have been given proper protection and health check-ups.
Universiti Utara Malaysia Associate Professor Dr Zaheruddin Othman from the School of Government said the nature of such migration will lead to social problems such as homelessness and begging in urban areas.
“When there are no jobs available, people will find it hard to sustain basic needs such as food and shelter,” he said, adding that the government should provide incentives to allow the homeless to set up businesses.
Read this story in theSun’s iPaper:
‘Job creation in rural areas will stem urban migration’