Saturday, July 05, 2014

Help the poor and marginalized - feed the hungry >> Withdraw the ban on soup kitchens...

The existence of the poor, homeless and hungry in Malaysia is an indication of the failure of Malaysia's BN government. Well, after all Malaysia seem to have adopted a neo-liberal ideology - and just like the United States of America, we too would see soon the rise of the Fourth World - the new poor - the homeless. 

Some governments do step in and assist the poor and the marginalized - but alas, it seems like in Malaysia, the government seem to be more concerned about painting a good picture of Malaysia that depicts development and success - so let's hide the 'victims' - the poor, the marginalized, the excluded, the hungry...

When the government failed to look after the homeless, poor and hungry - ordinary Malaysians came forward to help a bit - to provide at least some little good food to the needy. The number of such groups have grown, and they are doing a GOOD job - and this government really should be saying 'Thank You' - but no - they are now trying to 'get rid' of these.

The 'Good Samaritans' went to where the need was - where the people who needed help were...

It must be pointed out that many of the people involved in helping feed the hungry are doing it as volunteers - no some are even expending their own money and resources to help. {There may be some like the Rosmah launched Kechara Soup Kitchen which received a big cheques of RM85,000 from CIMB Group - wonder whether she donated any of her own money as well - it would be good if she did}

Many of these groups are operating from their existing premises - like the one known as Carl's Kitchen which is operating from the Catholic Archbishop's premises near St. John's School, so the governments order that they all must move out of KL - 2 Km from Lot 10, is absurd. Well, for one it may mean money for new premises, etc - this is something that these 'good samaritans' may not have.

A lot of the people who go for a meal have a life - yes, they do - they also work and earn money - little but insufficient for a decent home food and shelter..

What are the causes? - this is what a caring government should be interested in doing. How can we help? 

HELP? - Well, many would just really want to be able to earn more - find better paying jobs or businesses... A narrow-minded government may just think about sending them to some home ...or maybe even 'detaining' them someplace - so that we can still present Kuala Lumpur...Malaysia as a beautiful place where all is well and good - but that is not the way.

Really, it is the BN government's failings that is causing this...

Employment - this government is not ensuring that workers get regular employment until retirement - now this government allows employers to use short-term employment contract >>> Guess what? After a certain age, it will become more and more difficult for older workers to find employment. With short-term employment arrangements, employers also less inclined to provide on-going training so that worker can do the work... 

When workers lose their job, and is trying to find new jobs - Malaysia has NO UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFIT - Our neighbour Thailand has it. This 'welfare payment' is important for workers and families - the absence of these kind of assistance... can read to the complete financial/economic, etc collapse of the family.... [The car is no money to pay the loans...what? the house is also going .... and, the Credit card company is chasing >>> In modern Malaysia, thanks also to the policies of the BN government, the lives of workers and their families has become most precarious... A brief stint of not being able to find employment and income may destroy people .... {Wonder why there is an increase of petty crimes? Wonder why the government does not disclose actual figures of crimes - but now just some crime index which does not clearly tell us how petty crimes are on the rise?}

Malaysia has failed Malaysians so much so that there are so many people that frequent these ever growing number of 'soup kitchens' - Malaysians have pride and if people can avoid charity they will do so - So, the growing number of people without proper homes, shelter and food is most disturbing...

So, please withdraw the 'BAN' - and allow these soup kitchens to operate as they have been....

The government need to:-

a) Determine the actual numbers of persons that are currently being helped by these many different 'soup kitchen' like initiatives.

b) Determine who these people are and what has brought them to this condition? What needs to done to overcome their problem - and, more importantly to ensure that their numbers do not increase? For those, especially those that cannot find jobs and proper income - try to solve this problem,

We need unemployment benefits to be put in place.

We need to expand WELFARE BENEFITS for others.

We need create a new category for those that need special attention - Jobs and Income. Ignoring the growing number of marginalized is not the solution.

Thursday July 3, 2014 MYT 6:04:34 PM

KL soup kitchens rail against City Hall ban

A filepix of Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid (left) giving out food to the needy.
A filepix of Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid (left) giving out food to the needy.

PETALING JAYA: Social workers have lashed out at the ban on soup kitchens in Kuala Lumpur city centre, terming the move cruel and ineffective.

Pertiwi Soup Kitchen founder Munirah Abdul Hamid said soup kitchens provided a guarantee of a decent meal for the homeless and hard-core poor in the city.

"Some of them can only buy one packet of iced coffee, which they sip throughout the whole day.

"People with low wages, the hard-core poor trying to make ends meet in the city - these are the ones we are helping," she added.

On Tuesday, Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor announced that soup kitchens would not be allowed within a two kilometre-radius of Lot 10.

He said the activity encouraged people to remain homeless and jobless, with an added result of litter and disease-carrying scavengers.

Munirah rubbished talk that soup kitchens caused littering, and said she was prepared to meet Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib to prove her point.

"Datuk Bandar, we have trash cans and volunteers to clean up after we distribute food to the homeless, so Pertiwi always leaves the donation area cleaner than when we found it!" she said. 

According to the 64-year-old, Pertiwi sometimes arrives to set up their soup kitchen even before Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) had cleaned the dirty surroundings.

But the ban is nothing new, Munirah added.

Prior to this, Pertiwi was not allowed entry into the "impenetrable" Bukit Bintang area.

"We did try to feed the poor there back in 2010. We could see people living around the monsoon drains, but we were not allowed in," she said.

The ban is also reportedly aimed at reducing the culture of begging, which Tengku Adnan blamed for tarnishing the City's image.

"Beggars who are part of syndicates are not the people we feed. These beggars don't even line up for our food - once they are done (begging for the day), the syndicates just take them and go off," said Munirah.

She said they had attempted to explain the difference to Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim.

Rohani commented that efforts to solve the problem of homeless people were hampered by NGOs who "pampered" them with free food.

"Who wants to be homeless? People are just lining up for clean water and a simple meal. It's taken a while for NGOs to earn their trust - don't sweep it all away with this ban," Munirah cautioned.

Zuhri Yuhyi, a social worker with Muslim NGO Mercy Mission, said the Ministry should handle the issue in a more tactful and strategic manner.

Tengku Adnan had said that soup kitchens had not been officially notified of the ban, but a meeting would be held to discuss it with them soon.

"Soup kitchens have been around for many years. It would be helpful if NGOs were briefed and enlisted to plan together with the Government," said Zuhri.

The Homeless Cafe coordinator added that those who visit their soup kitchen at Anjung Singgah, a crisis centre at Jalan Hang Lekiu, were not the same beggars spotted on the streets.

"The ones who come to us have odd jobs and a meagre income. We eat with them and get to know them better. Soup kitchens aid their survival," said the 33-year-old.

Zuhri remains hopeful for a positive outcome, and urged all involved to have greater empathy for the plight of the less fortunate.- The Star Online, 3/7/2014, KL soup kitchens rail against City Hall ban

Soup kitchens say won’t budge from KL despite minister’s move order

UPDATED: July 03, 2014 11:39 pm 

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Soup kitchens in the capital city say they won’t abandon the Kuala Lumpur’s homeless and are ready to defy a minister’s order to move out by Monday.

The kitchens, run by NGOs, do not get public funding and say they provide service that is desperately needed.

“Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur believes that the Federal Territories minister and DBKL (Kuala Lumpur City Hall) have no right to determine the distance or area that can be used by whichever organisation to give free food because our activities do not use funds from the ministry or DBKL,” Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur said in a statement today.

“So we have the right to determine the venue for our activities,” the group added.

Tengku Adnan said earlier today that soup kitchens will be fined if they do not move out of Kuala Lumpur by Monday, as the government is seeking to remove homeless people from the streets in a campaign by the Women, Family and Community Development Minister dubbed “Ops Qaseh”.

He said NGOs were prohibited from feeding the homeless within a 2km-radius around shopping mall Lot 10 in the Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle business hub.
The minister, who is also Umno secretary-general, further claimed that soup kitchens were dirty, drawing rodents that spread diseases like Leptospirosis, and dengue.

Tengku Adnan said the homeless could go to temples and mosques outside Kuala Lumpur if they wished to get food, adding that those who donate to beggars in the capital city would also be fined.

Pertiwi soup kitchen founder Munirah Hamid said the organisation would continue feeding the homeless throughout the city.

“Stop hitting out at people who have so little,” Munirah told The Malay Mail Online.

“If the country was better managed, we can have better facilities for the poor...cut out overseas trips for conferences which are not important. And stop flying first-class,” she added.

Munirah said the homeless are likely to remain in the city despite any government crackdown as they have been here for generations.

The crackdown will simply force them to hide, she added.

“Because they're happier, they're well-fed, they don't have to resort to crime. People who are well-fed are not angry people; it's only when you're hungry that you're angry,” she said.

Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said earlier today that soup kitchens will be fined if they do not move out of Kuala Lumpur by Monday
Munirah also criticised Tengku Adnan for calling the homeless “lazy”, stressing that few had quit jobs prematurely, adding that many are physically unfit for work, elderly or sick.

“If he's against begging syndicates, go and address the beggars and syndicates. He's scared to touch those people because he's scared of the gangsters in the syndicates...that’s the real problem,” she said.

Prematilaka KD Serisena, vice-president of the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple, said the Brickfields temple would continue feeding the homeless on Sunday nights.

“What are you going to do with them? Let them die in hunger?”

“It's irrational. If he wants to eradicate the homeless, than he should be first ensuring that there are mechanisms in place to help the homeless,” he told the MalayMail online - Malay Mail Online, 3/7/2014,

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