PETALING JAYA: The Council of Churches of Malaysia Youth (CCM Youth) has joined the chorus of voices against the ban on soup kitchens in the KL city centre, calling the measure “harsh and ruthless”.
CCM Youth moderator Chrisanne Chin said the ban, announced by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor on Thursday, was oppressive not only to vulnerable groups in society, but those trying to help them.
“The lack of compassion and care, especially during this period in time, is particularly insensitive to the faith traditions of our nation, as millions of Malaysians fast, pray, and give out of charity.
“CCM Youth denounces such measures as harsh and ruthless, especially considering that 15% of the homeless are women and that a sizeable 22% are above the age of 60 according to an unpublished Women’s Ministry 2010 survey of 1,387 persons experiencing homelessness in Kuala Lumpur,” she said in a statement Friday.
Chin urged the Social Welfare Department and the ministry to withdraw the “anti-homeless” measures and seek urgent civil and compassionate solutions to the problem.
“Criminalising and unlawfully detaining the homeless is not only unhelpful, but unjust and immoral.
“Proposing to put sharp steel spikes in public spaces is not only offensive, but
also dangerous to the visually impaired and the child pedestrian.”
Chin also criticised the ministry for generalising all homeless people as beggars, criminals, addicts, and lazy, noting that it would create public hostility and endanger destitute women and street children if society turned against them.
CCM Youth urged the authorities to consider measures such as welfare assistance, temporary housing, medical aid and care centres for the different groups.Chin added that the Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry should also be roped in to find permanent housing solutions for the homeless.
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