Review of destitute law ready in September

Gifts for all: Nancy (centre) handing out goodie bags to the less fortunate after inaugurating the Rahmah Ramadan programme in Kuching. — Bernama

KUCHING: A review study to improve the Destitute Persons Act 1977 to deal with the issue of beggars is expected to be completed this September, says Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri.

She said the ministry (KPWKM) would announce the findings and the next steps that would be taken to amend the Act.

“Now it is still in the study stage; we are also improving the Act related to senior citizens because it is necessary to look at all the Acts that we want to amend in a comprehensive way,” she told reporters when met after the Rahmah Ramadan programme with the residents of Desa Bina Diri (DBD) here yesterday.

DBD is a special home for beggars and destitute individuals, where they can get care, protection and rehabilitation.

Last year, Bernama reported that the study, which began in July 2022, would set the direction in how to deal with the issue of beggars and homeless people as there was no specific source of authority and legislation for the handling of such groups in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Nancy said KPWKM would consider the need to collaborate with the Health Ministry to handle DBD residents categorised as mentally ill.

According to the statistics issued by the Kuching DBD, a total of 63.1%, or 24, of its residents are mental patients receiving follow-up treatment at Hospital Sentosa as of yesterday.

Apart from Kuching, there are four other institutions that house destitute individuals, including beggars, namely Mersing DBD in Johor, Jerantut DBD (Pahang), Kota Kinabalu DBD (Sabah) and Pusat Sehenti Bina Diri Sungai Buloh (Selangor).

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