FT MPs oppose decision on soup kitchens


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 03 Jul 2014

PETALING JAYA: Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng has urged the Government to postpone next week's Ops Qaseh until they have conducted proper dialogues with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the city.

“We all want to achieve a common goal of having a better city.  I don’t think any reasonable person wants to be a beggar and depend on others to survive.

“There must be an underlying reason why they are in that situation,” he told the Star Online.

Ops Qaseh is a large-scale operation to get the homeless into shelters and crack down on begging syndicates. It is to be launched next week.

In relation to the operation, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor announced that soup kitchens would not be allowed within a two kilometre-radius of Lot 10 from Monday onwards.

He claimed that the activity encouraged people to remain homeless and jobless, with an added result of litter and disease-carrying scavengers.

Lim said that if the government insisted on carrying on with the Ops Qaseh, they should inform either the NGOs or the Bar Council the location of those who were arrested.

“We can provide our legal services to those who have been arrested,” he said.

Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar meanwhile urged Adnan is to join the soup kitchens for at least three days to learn about the homeless and before making decisions to ban the kitchens from operating.

“I invite the minister to join me or a soup kitchen that is operating tomorrow night. We must have empathy, more especially if you are a leader,” she said in a statement.

She also questioned if such a decision was appropriate given its timing during Ramadhan.

Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai claimed that the authorities should have met with the soup kitchens before issuing an ultimatum.

“Adnan should see how best he could help these NGOs. On one side, they are not helping the poor and on the other side, they are stopping the kind-hearted people from helping them,” he said.

He also asked if Adnan had statistics to back up his claim that these soup kitchens were the cause of homelessness.

“The root of the problem is urban poverty and the minister shouldn’t evade their responsibilities as government leaders to solve it,” he said.
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