08 July 2014

If you want to saman fine go ahead - Dapur Jalanan

Soup Kitchen Says Will Keep Feeding Homeless Even After Hari Raya

PETALING JAYA 8 July - Putrajaya’s deferment of the 2km city centre radius ban on soup kitchens means nothing, Dapur Jalanan said today, insisting that it will continue dishing out food to the needy even after Hari Raya.

Mandeep Singh, a spokesman from the outfit, went a step further to say that Dapur Jalanan was even willing to face a fine from the ministry for ignoring the ban order.

“Defer or not we will be there. We will not move... if you want to saman (fine) go ahead,” he told a press conference attended by other NGO representatives.

The Federal Territories Ministry announced earlier today the postponement of its ban on those operating within central Kuala Lumpur to after Hari Raya after its nearly three-hour discussion with soup kitchens here failed to result in a final solution on the matter.

NGO representatives who attended the meeting claimed the consultation was frustratingly lopsided.

They further pointed out that the statements made by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor and Minister of Woman, Family and Community Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim clearly illustrated that the government does not understand the problems at hand.

“I don’t think they should sue us just because we are doing what they fail to do. It’s just inhumane,” student activist and Dapur Jalanan member Adam Adli said.

Soup kitchen operators had previously dismissed Putrajaya’s proposal to crack down on them as a cover up of the failure of state welfare agencies to provide care for beggars and homeless.

Adnan had said that the ban was meant to clean up the city streets, claiming soup kitchens were dirty and contributed to rodent infestation.

He has since been widely criticised for the remark, forcing the government to try and contain public anger by holding today’s meeting.

Rights groups have also asked for the government to abolish the Destitute Persons Act 1977 which is used to arrest vagrants.

They said the law gives the government the grounds to round up the city homeless and beggars and forcefully detain them.

“It is essentially criminalising their existence,” Michelle Yesudas of Lawyers for Liberty said.

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