Welfare Home In Perak Locks Up Mentally-Disabled Residents In Cages
A welfare home in Batu Gajah, Perak was thrust under the limelight recently, when a visitor made a shocking discovery that people were locked up in cages at the centre
In her posting on social media, a woman said that her recent visit to the home with her family to visit her aunt, who was a resident there, was a horrifying experience when she discovered that the inmates were given inhumane treatment as if they were animals.
The residents, including children, were found in enclosures with metal swing doors. They were seen without water and bed. The woman further added that she noticed that up to two people were spotted in a single enclosure, adding that she only saw one shower and one toilet.
The welfare home in question was identified as Rumah Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Batu Gajah in Perak.
Responding to the matter yesterday, 24 October, the centre's chairman said that the residents in the home were "caged up" due to limited funding
After the incident went viral on social media, Sivalingam Ramasamy has come forward to explain that some severely disabled inmates would violently attack - including biting and poking - others during bedtime, and they are locked up to keep others safe.
"We had to separate these children to keep the others safe and since our funding is so small, our only resort was to put them in those pens," he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
FMT reported that there are 47 disabled inmates between the ages of 15 and 60, but the centre could only afford to hire six full-time workers along with some partially disabled volunteers who are there to monitor them.
"There aren’t enough workers to monitor all the inmates and even some of the workers we do have won’t stay for long."
What's more alarming here is the fact that this has been ongoing for the last seven years
According to the home, the Welfare Department is aware of the centre's practice of keeping severely disabled inmates in pens which began in 2009.
"Of course we provide the inmates with mattresses, blankets and pillows but some of them throw the mattresses out of the pens," Sivalingam reportedly said.
"If I had the resources, first I would get more workers so that the inmates could be monitored closely, and I would also build more rooms for them."
"As it is, there’s not enough money to build rooms for all 47 of them."
Sivalingam has denied any wrongdoing, saying that the practice of keeping inmates in pen is a "safety measure"
"This isn’t abuse, but a safety measure. The person who had distributed the images may not have obtained the full picture of the situation,” he was quoted as saying by Harian Metro.
Meanwhile, NST reported that Sivalingam has suggested that the woman who told the media about her visitation perhaps had a misunderstanding towards the centre.
"I had asked the sister to sponsor a stall for a food fair to be held on 27 November and she was unhappy about it. She suddenly came up with this story about the children being abused," he was quoted as saying.
He added that the home, which has been in operations since 1968, had not encountered any problems thus far and has relies on the public's support for its operations.
Do you think it's reasonable for the home to put someone in an enclosure for the safety of others? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.