Counselling centres urgently needed at Seri Setia PPRs: PH by-election candidate

Kalbana Perimabanayagam

PETALING JAYA: If given the mandate by voters, Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) candidate for the Seri Setia by-election will set up Community Counselling Centres at all low cost People’s Housing Projects (PPRs) in the constituency.

Halimey Abu Bakar said the proposed centres are vital for the area, where a lack of strong support systems has contributed towards some members of the B40 group to engage in social ills and criminal activities.

“On top of the economic problems, crowded living conditions and poor facilities, these people are often subjected to various stressful factors that could lead them towards (social ills or even) mental breakdowns.

“This problem is quiet common and needs immediate attention before it reaches an irreversible point,” he said, adding that the proposal would be a good way to educate, coach and guide PPR residents, especially youngsters.

Halimey said the centres would provide consultation and counselling for troubled residents, while also bringing them closer through a range of community programmes.

“The centres could also serve as a place where troubled people could be provided with tools to help prevent, rather than only cure, the mental and emotional stress they face in the daily challenges of life,” he added.

Halimey said the idea originated from a similar programme introduced by Penggerak Masyarakat Sejahtera (Pemasra) at the PPR Lembah Subang 1 in Oct 2016, which has led to positive changes in the community.

He revealed that the centres will be part of a larger Community Development Programme which will include community services and weekly visits by qualified counsellors to each PPR in Seri Setia.

“(Considering the large number of people living in PPRs in Seri Setia), community leaders such as mosque administrators, block representatives and residents association committee members will also be provided with necessary counselling knowledge though recognised training programmes.

“I believe this initiative and a good social support system, if put in place properly, would be very helpful in serving the residents, especially those who need the support,” he said after visiting residents at the PPR Lembah Subang 1 during a press conference this afternoon.

Halimey, who cited a WHO survey which revealed that about 30 per cent of people suffer from psychological problems, added that he also hopes to establish a dedicated hotline for PPR residents if they find themselves in emotional difficulty.

Halimey is contesting against Pas’s Dr Halimah Ali in the Sept 8 by-election.

The Seri Setia state seat fell vacant after incumbent assemblyman and Selangor executive councillor Prof Dr Shaharuddin Badaruddin passed away on Aug 2 after a battle with cancer. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd