Photo from Facebook

A 56-year-old homeless elderly was found dead in a sleeping position at a public bench outside popular shopping centre Jurong Point on Friday (Jul 13). Reported in a Chinese state media report, the shopping centre’s security guard was alerted by a member of the public and tried to wake him up as he was sleeping under the sun. The elderly poor who did not get to withdraw his CPF money was instead found motionless.

According to an anonymous kitchen cook who often bring food to the homeless, the old man used to work as a cleaner at a food stall in Jurong Bus Interchange for 15 years. Refusing to give his name to media reporters, the cook said Mohamad Ibrahim lost his job three years ago and had to sleep in the streets because his three siblings did not allow him to live with them.

Mohamad Ibrahim had diabetes and he was hospitalised for two weeks after he fell in the toilet. The elderly man was discharged from the hospital despite having a weak body and a swollen and rotten leg. The government hospital let him leave without contacting social workers, despite being aware that Mohamad Ibrahim was homeless and cashless.

Two months ago, a welfare organisation gave Mohamad Ibrahim a motorised wheelchair and did not offer further assistance.

Mohamad Ibrahim’s death would see his CPF assets being distributed to his three surviving siblings who refused to assist him when he was alive.

Government organisations have an untold “hands-off” approach when handling the poor and vulnerable. The Singapore government do not follow through on a case-by-case basis, and instead leave it to the poor to apply for assistance. The passive approach saves the government tens of millions in welfare assistance each year, with the end result being elderly poor half-begging for a living in public as a common sight in Singapore.