NUSAJAYA - Forty per cent of the vagrants found in Johor Baru hold regular jobs in Singapore and earn between $1,000 and $2,000 each month.
Johor Women and Family executive councillor Asiah Ariff said the homeless in Johor Baru were different from that of cities like Kuala Lumpur as a lot of the vagrants here earn enough to sustain a living in the city but still choose to sleep on the streets.
She said this was because most of them earned hour-based wages and only needed a place to rest for a few hours before crossing the border to resume their work again in the island republic.
"Some of them are from Sabah and Sarawak and do not have family members staying nearby so they rather catch a few hours of sleep in recreational parks or corridors outside buildings," she said in her speech at the state assembly here yesterday.
Asiah added that these vagrants worked as cleaners, ship crew, factory workers, construction workers, grass cutters, warehouse guards, odd job workers and lorry drivers.
She was replying to Suhaimi Salleh's written question (BN-Kukup) who wanted to know of the state government's efforts to curb vagrancy.
Asiah said that among the facilities that the state had prepared for the vagrants was the Anjung Kasih, a dormitory-style shelter at Bangunan MCA in Jalan Segget, Johor Baru where the homeless, drug addicts and the unemployed could stay for up to two weeks.
"There are 64 beds for male vagrants, 18 for females and three rooms for families and those staying there will be provided with an early intervention programme to help them get on their feet and to find a more permanent place to stay," she added.
Separately, state Tourism, Domestic Trade and Consumerism exco Datuk Tee Siew Kiong said the state wanted to promote Gunung Ledang as a main tourism destination under the Johor Tourism Masterplan to attract more people to visit the iconic historical and recreational spot in the Ledang district.
He said that efforts like upgrading the existing facilities and infrastructure to cater to the local people and tourists who visit the spot.
Tee said the spot offers a 'mystical nature' factor that had great potential to be marketed as a tourism product.