Malaysia's poor falling through the cracks

Many left stranded by complicated bureaucracy seen as in need of overhaul

Above: Ms Kaliama Badmayiah, 38, who earns RM25 a day working as a cleaner, lives in an abandoned house (below left) with no power supply or running water. Below right: Ms Mary Santiago, 59, a widow who works as a cook in a food court. She earns bare
Ms Kaliama Badmayiah (above), 38, who earns RM25 a day working as a cleaner, lives in an abandoned house with no power supply or running water.ST PHOTO: TRINNA LEONG
Above: Ms Kaliama Badmayiah, 38, who earns RM25 a day working as a cleaner, lives in an abandoned house (below left) with no power supply or running water. Below right: Ms Mary Santiago, 59, a widow who works as a cook in a food court. She earns bare
Ms Kaliama Badmayiah, 38, who earns RM25 a day working as a cleaner, lives in an abandoned house (above) with no power supply or running water.ST PHOTO: TRINNA LEONG
Above: Ms Kaliama Badmayiah, 38, who earns RM25 a day working as a cleaner, lives in an abandoned house (below left) with no power supply or running water. Below right: Ms Mary Santiago, 59, a widow who works as a cook in a food court. She earns bare
Ms Mary Santiago, 59, a widow who works as a cook in a food court. She earns barely enough to support her three grandchildren and her adult daughter who stays home to take care of them.ST PHOTO: TRINNA LEONG

The sun is setting, but Ms Kaliama Badmayiah does not switch on the lights in the dark wooden house she shares with her four children in Alor Setar, the capital city of Malaysia's northern Kedah state.

The house is abandoned and therefore rent-free. But it has no power supply or running water, and it floods when rain pours in through the dilapidated zinc roof.

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia's poor falling through the cracks'. Subscribe