Some 43 drifters were rounded up during an operation to rid the streets of Ipoh of vagrants on the night of Wednesday, November 20. Of the number, ten were tested positive for drug abuse.
The operation was mounted by Ipoh City Council Enforcement Division and aided by personnel from the Ipoh Police District, Immigration Department, National Registration Department, National Anti-Drug Agency and the State Welfare Department. In all, over a hundred personnel were involved.
Leading the joint-team was Dato’ Rusnah Kassim, the Executive Councillor for Women’s Development, Family, Welfare and National Integration. They combed the streets, back lanes and areas of the city which are havens for vagrants, the destitute, homeless beggars and drug addicts.
The drifters are mostly found in and around the wet market where Super Kinta is. Here, activities of illegal parking attendants are rife. Their other favourite haunts are Jalan Dato Tahwil Azhar where the night market (Gerbang Malam) is located, Jalan Mustapha Al-Bakri, Jalan Theatre and the Kinta Height flats.
“Some of them make as much as RM150 a day collecting illegal parking fees from motorists. It’s a form of extortion, as motorists who don’t pay up may have their cars scratched,” said Rusnah to reporters who were covering the operation.
Part of the state government’s rehabilitation programme is to relocate these destitutes so they do not become a public menace. “The homeless will be sent to welfare homes while the able bodied will be sent to Mersing, Johor for skill training,” Rusnah added.
The operation ended at around 1.30 the following morning. It will be continued from time to time depending on the need.