KUALA LUMPUR - The grisly murder of two-year-old Siti Soffea Emelda Abdullah had shone a light on the plight of the homeless people here.
Questions remain on where the authorities and community have gone wrong.
The 32-year-old mother of Siti Soffea had been living on the streets. They were previously seen loitering around Kota Raya complex here.
The body of Siti Soffea, who was beheaded, was found near Sungai Klang on May 29.
Two days later, the corpse of a man who is believed to have abducted and killed her with a ceramic tile, was discovered floating in the river.
Despite efforts by the Social Welfare Department, the number of homeless people continue to grow.
But as always, there are two sides to any story.
One policeman, who went on his rounds at Lebuh Pasar here, recounted that he spotted a woman rummaging for tin cans and glass bottles with several other men at a dumpster last year.
"As she was alone with the group of men, we approached her. She produced her identification, besides also showing us her Employees Provident Fund (EPF) statement which showed that she had RM300,000 (S$117,000)," he said.
He said the woman, who hails from Terengganu, was a happily married accountant until a mental disorder caused her to lose both her husband and job.
"We advised her to return home to Terengganu but she refused. She liked her present life," he said.
"While we know that some people are homeless due to genuine circumstances, you would be surprised to know that there are those who opted for this lifestyle," he said.
Other policemen also said that some of the homeless people were drug addicts who vandalised the lamp posts there to keep the area dark.
"City Hall officers have fixed the lights many times but they keep vandalising it," a police officer said, adding that they would also remove copper wires to fund their drug habit.
However, the officers acknowledged that the area was relatively peaceful although the number of homeless people was growing.