PARENTS who allow unauthorised religious schools to send their children to cities and large towns to beg can be charged under the Child Act.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Azizah Md Dun said Welfare Department officers sometimes faced problems trying to take action against such schools for using children to sell items or beg on the streets, as most of the time, their parents refused to cooperate.
“The problem of unauthorised religious schools using children to sell items or beg in cities is frequently discussed.
“Unfortunately, when we call up the parents of some of the rescued children and urge them to lodge police reports against the schools, they say they had consented to their children being involved in the activities.
“They refuse to call it begging, as they see it as a way to teach their children to become independent and learn entrepreneurial skills,” she said in reply to a question by Idris Ahmad (PAS - Bukit Gantang) in Parliament yesterday.
Azizah said the Welfare Department would hand over the children to their parents and leave the matter to the state government, which oversees the registration of religious schools. However, she said, the ministry had also warned the parents that if they continued to allow their children to be involved in such activities, action could be taken against them under the Child Act.
Earlier, in response to a question by Datuk Ahmad Fauzi Zahari (BN - Setiawangsa), Azizah said those who wanted to provide free food for the homeless in Kuala Lumpur have been asked to do it systematically.
“Groups which want to set up soup kitchens can do so at specified places like the Anjung Singgah in Jalan Hang Lekiu, the transit point for the homeless in Jalan Pahang and the service centre for the homeless in Lorong Medan Tuanku,” she said.