The Government Does Not Want You To Give Money To Beggars In KL

The Federal Territories Ministry really wants to reduce the begging culture in Kuala Lumpur.

Cover image via L.S.Watts

Another Minister Blames Tourists As Reason To Ban Soup Kitchens

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim

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Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim said today tourists were taking advantage of the soup kitchens meant for the homeless and that everyone had misunderstood what her colleague Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor had said when he told the charities to shut their activities by today.

“We are grateful for their concern to feed the homeless but I told them as well that sometimes when they do it on the streets, like not only the homeless but other people also join in... sometimes tourists are also in the line because they think Malaysians are so generous in feeding everyone,” she told reporters today.

She said it was pointless if the soup kitchens, currently operated by more than 12 non-governmental organisations in the city, are not serving the right target group. “We don’t want to stop them from handing out food but we want to give them an institution so that they can do other services for the homeless,” said Rohani.

"So, I suggest we don't stop them (NGOs), but prepare an institution for them to prepare other services to the homeless," she said at a press conference in Putrajaya today.

Puzzled Soup Kitchen Operators Question Minister's Accusation Of Feeding Tourists

A man digs into his meal of rice and vegetable curry at the Kechara soup kitchen.

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The organisations running soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur are puzzled over Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim’s claim that tourists were taking advantage of the free food they were distributing to the homeless in Kuala Lumpur. They also said they did not have any problems serving tourists if they wanted to eat food cooked for the homeless.

Nasi Lemak Project Founder Mastura Mohd Rashid said none of its members had ever seen her at any of its food distribution points. “I have never seen her (Datuk Rohani) on the street, why is she accusing us of distributing food to tourists?” asked Mastura Mohd Rashid. “I’ve never come across any tourists,” said Mastura.

She also said that they passed their food out individually to people on the street to ensure that the homeless are the ones benefiting from its services. “(So) I can be 100% sure that we don’t give our food to tourists,” she said.

“What we offer is very basic – either nasi lemak or nasi goreng with fruits and perhaps a curry puff together with mineral water. It isn’t McDonalds or KFC, and it is definitely not what tourists will look for,” she said. She also does not find any problem if tourists were to take food from them, saying “If they (tourists) are asking food from us, then they must be very hungry.”

Carl’s Kitchen co-ordinator Alvin Santhanam was also curious at to how Rohani knew tourists had eaten the food they served. Santhanam said they had helped tourists who were stranded in Kuala Lumpur in the past, but this was rare. “We help by giving them food when they are in trouble,” he said.

4 July: Tengku Adnan Is Ready To Listen To Suggestions About The Soup Kitchen Ban

Image via Fahmi Reza

After being soundly condemned over his move to ban soup kitchens to weed out beggars in Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor now says he is ready to listen and make necessary amendments.

He said that he has taken into account the complaints from the people and friends about the issue, adding that he had also read all the "harsh words" thrown at him following the announcement.

"My intention was to make right the situation but if there are people who have a different assumption or perception, then I am ready to clear it up and explain my real intention behind this," he said in a Facebook posting last night.

The minister, also known as Ku Nan, denied that he had dismissed the charitable works of those who have been helping the poor and homeless in the nation's capital. "I want to say that it was not my intention to do so. I hope the people understand the problems that we are facing. "My intention is to make the city clean. For that, I am ready to listen and make the necessary amendments to what is needed.”

Soup Kitchens Vow To Continue Feeding The Poor And Homeless

The Federal Territories minister now says he is ready to listen and make necessary amendments after asking soup kitchens to move out of the city centre.

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The operators of soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur today vowed to continue feeding the homeless despite facing the threat of action by City Hall which is on a drive to present a better image of Malaysia's capital city.

The kitchens, run by NGOs, do not get public funding and say they provide service that is desperately needed.

They insisted they ran a clean operation and always cleaned up after their food was distributed to the homeless.

“Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur believes that the Federal Territories minister and DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) have no right to determine the distance or area that can be used by whichever organisation to give free food because our activities do not use funds from the ministry or DBKL,” Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur said in a statement today. “So we have the right to determine the venue for our activities,” the group added.

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid said Tengku Adnan appeared to have misunderstood their work. She said they had been vocal in pointing out the difference between the homeless and beggars as the latter may be controlled by syndicates. “Tengku Adnan has confused the two. The ones that we feed are people trying to get by every day.”

3 July: After Warning People Not To Give Alms, Federal Territories Minister Bans Soup Kitchens

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen giving out food to the homeless and poor.

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Soup kitchens will no longer be allowed to operate within a 2km radius of Lot 10, which covers a large portion of the city centre, effective immediately, said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

He said Putrajaya was determined to clear the homeless from the city and had restricted programmes by non-governmental organisations to feed them. “The image of my city is very bad. If I don’t do this sort of thing, society won’t be disciplined,” he told a new conference here today.

“We had offered jobs to these people, but they refuse to take it up as it is easier to be fed by the soup kitchens. “They remain on the streets and are a hindrance to good city hygiene. ‘Worse still, some of them are HIV positive and drug addicts,” he told reporters at a DBKL press conference today.

He added that the sessions also resulted in littering and this in turn attracted scavengers that brought about diseases. "We already have all kinds of garbage-related problems in the city and spend more than RM90mil a year collecting it. I do not see my actions as harsh but necessary in order to create a disciplined society," he said.

Social Workers Say The Ban Is Cruel, Ineffective, And Reflects Poor Understanding Of The Lower Income Group

The homeless and poor queuing for food at a soup kitchen in KL.

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Social workers have lashed out at the ban on soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur city centre, terming the move cruel and ineffective.

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid said soup kitchens provided a guarantee of a decent meal for the homeless and hard-core poor in the city. "Some of them can only buy one packet of iced coffee, which they sip throughout the whole day. "People with low wages, the hard-core poor trying to make ends meet in the city - these are the ones we are helping," she added.

Munirah rubbished talk that soup kitchens caused littering, and said she was prepared to meet Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib to prove her point. "Datuk Bandar, we have trash cans and volunteers to clean up after we distribute food to the homeless, so Pertiwi always leaves the donation area cleaner than when we found it!" she said.

Nurul Izzah invited Tengku Mansor to volunteer at a soup kitchen for a night.

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Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor should try his hand at soup kitchens to learn more about the city’s homeless, Nurul Izzah Anwar said today. The PKR vice-president added that the short stint was the least the minister could do before making a decision on fining soup kitchens and punishing the homeless.

A group calling itself "Dapur Jalanan" (Street Kitchen) had described Tengku Adnan ‘s remarks as reflecting a poor understanding of the plight of the city’s lower income group. The group urged Putrajaya to halt all operations to round up the homeless, describing it as inhumane.

2 July: In An Effort To Reduce The Begging Culture In Kuala Lumpur, The Federal Territories Ministry Wants To Fine Beggars And Those Who Donate To Beggars

A beggar in Kuala Lumpur.

Image via NB Photography

The Federal Territories Ministry will impose fines and other penalties on the givers of alms and beggars in several focal areas to reduce the begging culture that tarnishes the image of the federal capital.

Tengku Adnan said the decision was taken after a meeting with Kuala Lumpur City Hall and other relevant agencies recently where hygiene issues and concerns for homeless people were among the matters discussed.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor Says They Will Introduce A Rule To Haul Beggars And Issue Summons To Those Who Give Alms

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor Says They Will Introduce A Rule To Haul Beggars And Issue Summons To Those Who Give Alms

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"We will introduce a rule where we might issue a summons to those giving alms and haul up the beggars as most of them are foreigners. So we are going to tighten this legislation," he told reporters after launching the Nur Ramadan programme in Putrajaya tonight.

However, The Amount Of The Fine Has Yet To Be Determined

Its minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said, however, the amount of the fine to be imposed on the givers was to be determined later.

Furthermore, NGOs Providing Free Food For The Homeless Must Also Determine A Fixed Location

Volunteer providing food for the homeless in Kuala Lumpur

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"NGOs providing free food to the homeless must also fix a location to do so and not distribute the food all over the place," he said.

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