Parliament Hears About Pala’u Street Children

For illustration purpose only.

KOTA KINABALU: More attention will be paid by both the state and federal governments to the plight of the Pala’u children in the state.

This is also to seek the best solutions to problems faced by community, often referred to as sea gypsies.

The undertaking comes from Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Mastura Mohd Yazid who said, among other things, the government would continue working with Unicef on the children’s activity centre.

Renovation work is presently taking place at the centre located at the Api-Api Centre here.

She told parliament that the centre was specifically set up for street children to learn the basics of reading, counting, writing, drawing and various other activities, where they would be provided with light meals.

“In this way, we hope to attract more Pala’u children to the centre, thus preventing them from engaging in unhealthy activities or roaming around aimlessly,” Bernama quoted her as saying in reply to  Chan Foong Hin (PH-Kota Kinabalu) who had raised the issue of the stateless Pala’u children living and begging in the streets around the city.

Mastura added that as the Pala’u community are under pressure and finding difficulties in getting jobs, most, including children, have turned to the streets to beg for food and money.

She said the state government, together with several agencies from the federal and state governments, had also set up a Pala’u Community Management Committee to address problems faced by the group in relation to education, employment and housing.

“We will look into the community’s nomadic living at sea and try to capitalise their strengths for the good of everyone, especially the people of Sabah as well as the Pala’u community.