Lack of funds forces home to lock inmates in pens


PETALING JAYA: A charity home is forced to keep some severely mentally disabled inmates in pens at night as they lack funds to build rooms for all the inmates.

Rumah Kebajikan Kanak-Kanak Cacat Batu Gajah chairman Sivalingam Ramasamy said that come bedtime, the severely disabled inmates would usually “attack” the others by biting and poking them in the eyes while they were sleeping.

“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 said.

Ten of these inmates are being kept in the pens at night.

The charity home houses some 47 disabled inmates between the ages of 15 and 60, while only six full-time workers along with some partially disabled volunteers are there to monitor them.

Sivalingam said due to the lack of funds, they could only afford to pay the workers a small allowance which was not sufficient to keep 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.”

The practice of keeping these severely disabled inmates in pens began in 2009 and according to the home, the Welfare Department is aware of the practice.

“Of course we provide the inmates with mattresses, blankets and pillows but some of them throw the mattresses out of the pens.

“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.”

News of the disabled being kept in pens was first reported on the World of Buzz when a visitor, identified only as ‘Vivian’ went to check on her aunt at the home.