In June, the Malaysian government unveiled the latest plans to build a new RM800mil parliament building in Putrajaya, just as warning bells were clanging over the nation’s economic health. Is this use of public funds justifiable when the urban poverty right under our noses is overlooked? One of Penang’s most deprived areas – Rifle Range Flats – often receives plenty of attention from both sides of the political divide come election time, but when the flag waving and rhetoric ends, it’s up to a team of volunteers in groups such as the House of Hope to provide relief. Here are their stories.
When Khoo Cheng See started the House of Hope five years ago, she had no idea what she was getting herself into. What originally began as caring for a depressed man who had attempted suicide suddenly became a full time occupation. “I had no idea of the scope of poverty in this area, and I’m from Penang!” she said. “I started cooking meals for this one man who was a gambler and an alcoholic and all of a sudden he introduced me to the rest of his neighbours in Rifle Range and it just grew from there.”
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