Friday, 4 July 2014

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim has clarified that the government is not trying to hide urban poverty by nabbing beggars and the homeless.

Instead, Rohani said the ministry is trying to “save” them, by taking them in, providing counselling and motivating them to get off the streets.

“The word arrest gives the wrong connotations. We are not like the Immigration Department looking for illegal migrants, no…Don’t say arrest but say we are saving them,” she implored reporters yesterday.

“There is a misconception, as if we are trying to clean them off the streets so Kuala Lumpur will look beautiful and clean. No, we feel they need to be helped.”

She said that once the beggars and homeless are taken in, social workers will find out why they are on the street, provide job coaching as well as health screenings.

“They tell us they have housing problems, job problems, illness, difficulty finding employment or are runaways. They tell us why they run away, like their mother objected to them getting married.

“I tell them, ‘That’s normal, mothers are like that. Don’t fight with your mother for too long’. We talk to them that way,” she said.

The government is under fire for its plan to take in beggars, fine those who give alms, and place a ban on soup kitchens within a two-kilometre radius of Bukit Bintang, starting Monday.

It will also start an operation to pick up the homeless and place them in shelters starting next week.


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