Feature Story

Homeless and Beggars : The unacknowledged populous


Do you ever wonder what our city will be known as in the run-up to the idea of punishing homeless, beggars and also givers as recently announced by the Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor, as well as the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and other relevant agencies.

In Malaysia , law-abiding and employed people happen to lose their homes and become homeless. On the other hand, there are beggars who are not at all homeless.

I am assuming that most people who live in or near a metropolitan area have seen either a homeless person or a beggar at some point. However, I cannot safely suggest a generalized reason for how they arrive in said situation. There are many possibilities that I am aware of for how they have come to their current condition as I have yet to arrive at a single pleasant notion that would bring about such an end state.

Most of us would not hesitate to spare a change to a beggar on the street. Why ? We do have heart. Our inner feeling tells us to share our bits with these people.However, our generosity towards the underprivileged anywhere in Kuala Lumpur soon could be fined.

This action suggests that they are more concerned about the image of the city rather than the plight and the rights of the homeless. "The amount of fines to be imposed on the givers has not been ascertained. We will introduce a rule where we might book those giving out alms and haul up the beggars as most of them are foreigners," Bernama quoted Adnan as saying.

This is the way for the ministry to tighten the legislation, after a recent discussion on hygiene issues and homeless people.Tengku Adnan also said non-governmental organisations (NGOs) providing free food to the homeless must from now operate from a fixed location and not distribute the food all over the place.

The fact that the significant number of homeless and beggars attempting to survive in this city is not an "image" problem. It shows that government are more interested in creating a "development" for the rich, rather than attending to the needs of citizens who happen to be low-income, unemployed and underprivileged.

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