The announcement by the Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that he will effectively criminalise both paupers and almsgivers is disappointing and downright callous.
The same can be said by his efforts to stop NGOs from organizing soup kitchens from certain zones. The Minister should be taking into account the needs and welfare of the less fortunate rather than simply seeking to shift the problem from one place to another.
Rather than this crackdown, a comprehensive study should instead be undertaken—involving all relevant agencies as well as experienced NGOs—on how the issue of beggars and homeless people can be resolved. We need to identify the root causes of this problem and take proactive action.
What our cities need are forward looking policies rather than simply criminalising the poor as well as the people who seek to help them.