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Homelessness, Human Insecurities, and the Government Agenda in Malaysia

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The Simultaneous Inclusion and Exclusion of Anjung Singgah

image of Asian Journal of Social Science

Over the past two decades, street homelessness has become an increasingly pronounced part of urban landscapes in Northeast and Southeast Asian countries. Numerous metropolises, such as Bangkok, Seoul and Tokyo, have become the testing grounds for new government initiatives designed to address the needs of persons experiencing homelessness. Kuala Lumpur is no exception in either regard. This case study uses qualitative and quantitative methods to explore the workings of Anjung Singgah, a transitional shelter established in 2011 by a Malaysian federal ministry and handed over to a government-linked charitable organisation for administration. The study highlights difficulties faced by shelter clients in transcending homelessness, including those imposed by the facility itself. It also explores how the non-governmental, quasi-charitable structure of the project, which implicitly frames homelessness as a problem of individual choice and responsibility, hinders recognition of broader issues of individual and collective human security by Anjung Singgah and the government. This study highlights the importance of policy and government mechanisms in addressing homelessness. Analyses draw heavily from client perspectives.

Affiliations: 1: University of Malaya


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