In life, nobody aspires to be a beggar. Individuals only resort to begging as a last resort to survive.
In the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur (KL), however, some ‘beggars‘ are seemingly doing better than just surviving. Some reportedly take Grab rides to and from the city while others are earning in excess of RM8,000 (S$2,400) per month.
Enforcement officers from the Malaysian Social Welfare Department (JKM) recently conducted a raid in the capital, arresting 16 individuals under the Destitute Persons Act.
According to Malaysian news site Kosmo!, JKM officers conducted the raid from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday (21 Mar) evening.
The 16 individuals they caught, comprising six locals and 10 foreigners, were aged between 17 and 55 years old.
They were arrested under the Destitute Persons Act 1977 and have been taken to the JKM office for “further action”.
Officers also seized RM9,668 (S$2,902) and 255 Saudi Riyal (S$90) during the operation.
Sinar Harian reported that an Indonesian lady was among those arrested.
She was reportedly nabbed while carrying a 17-day-old baby and collecting alms at a mosque.
Speaking to Kosmo!, the 24-year-old said she receives about RM100 (S$30) every day but spends RM40 (S$12) of it on her Grab ride to and from the mosque.
Even though her husband had expressed disapproval about her begging, she does so anyway as she doesn’t like idling at home and wants to earn more money.
Meanwhile, a Sri Lankan man in his 50s allegedly raked in the most income, earning about RM8,500 (S$2,552) in a month.
Kosmo! also reported seeing a man who appeared visually impaired running away the moment he detected the JKM enforcers, almost as if he had no issue seeing at all.
Explaining the reason for the enforcement action, JKM wrote in their Facebook post that the efforts are to curb widespread begging activities.
The department’s Lead Director Norazman Othman also told Kosmo! that since KL is a city, locals and foreigners have turned to beg to earn an income.
JKM will send these individuals to their institution where they will provide protection. The individuals will also undergo rehabilitation programmes to enable them to return to society and be independent.
As operations continue, they advise members of the public to avoid giving money to beggars. Should they encounter any, they should check if the individual or organisation seeking donations has a letter authorising them to do so.
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Featured image adapted from Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat on Facebook.
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