Stop stigmatising homelessness and mental health conditions

27th August 2021

We from the Disability Justice and Mental Health Bureau of Pemuda Sosialis, Parti Sosialis Malaysia condemn the extremely dehumanising comments by Kok Lanas state assemblyman, Datuk Seri Md Alwi Che Ahmad and Kijang state assemblyman, Dr Izani Husin.

Their harmful rhetoric comes from a place that does not see homeless people and those afflicted with mental health conditions as human beings, but as something cruder; some beastly thing that is able to withstand unhygienic conditions and contaminated food.

People who are homeless or afflicted with mental health conditions or both must be protected by the state. They must be advocated for on behalf by those who are elected to various legislative bodies, including the Kelantan State Assembly. It appears that Kok Lanas state assemblyman Datuk Seri Md Alwi Che Ahmad and Kijang state assemblyman Dr Izani Husin do not care. Perhaps it would do well for both the assemblyman to ponder what caused them to be marginalized to the fringes of society in the first place.

A lack of proper social safety net and frustrating bureaucracy comes to mind, especially for those who already face many inherent structural obstacles, such as one that favours those who do not have a disability or mental health condition.

This is the result of a system that exploits people for profit and values “productivity” above all else. A system that discards people when profit can no longer be extracted from them; leaving them homeless, jobless and vulnerable to further discrimination long after their reserves have run dry.

What they deserve is compassion and solidarity, not disgust nor as a source of inspiration. Human beings deserve to be treated with dignity, one does not cease to be human by becoming homeless, acquiring a mental health condition, or both.

Yap Xin Yit & Lalith Kumar
Disability Justice and Mental Health Bureau,
Pemuda Sosialis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

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