NGOs unhappy with handling of homeless issue

KUALA LUMPUR: Some of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who attended the first meeting with the Federal Territories Ministry to help the homeless are unhappy over how the issue has been handled, including the deferment of the soup kitchen ban to after Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

While the ministry secretary-general Datuk Adnan Md Ikhsan had indicated that the meeting on Tuesday was a positive start, the NGOs were disappointed that there was no follow-up to it.

“We were supposed to meet with representatives from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) today (yesterday) but it was cancelled,” said Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid, adding that there was no notification in regard to the next meeting.

At Tuesday’s three-hour closed-door meeting, among other things, it was agreed that the 2km ban within Lot 10 here would be applicable only to mobile soup kitchens while those with proper premises could operate as usual.

Munirah said the meeting had failed to come to a decision on steps that should be taken.

“Basically, it reminded us to be tidy, especially the ad hoc soup kitchens.”

She, however, said that if the ban is enforced, they will comply.

Munirah said the various parties should hold further talks instead of having a lopsided meeting.

“We can’t just say that we have a solution, that is idealistic. I think they (the authorities) are still figuring out how to go about the task.”

Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur coordinator Abdulhadi Khalid also lamented that they had not heard of any future meetings with the ministry or DBKL.

“We will continue operating even if the ban is imposed after Hari Raya,” he said.

“Some see the homeless as an obstacle. They forget that these are real people with problems,” he said.

On Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s decision to have a town hall meeting with the homeless, Abdulhadi welcomed the move to engage with the community.

“Building shelters is a positive move. However, they need to really understand how to run them.

“When you do a shelter without engaging the people you provide it for, it wouldn’t work,” he said.

DBKL public relations officer Hassan Azhari Abu Bakar said that he was not aware of any meeting being scheduled with operators of the soup kitchens.


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