KUALA LUMPUR, July 4 — PAS said today it will direct its welfare unit to help the city’s soup kitchens in their activities, including cleaning up the areas where they operate from, insisting that the noble effort of feeding the homeless should continue.
The Islamist party told Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor that it was more “appropriate” for the government to keep Kuala Lumpur free from “crime, secret societies, dirty toilets and potholed roads” to protect the capital’s image, instead of banning charitable activities.
Party vice-president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the authorities should team up with the non-governmental organisations involved in the soup kitchen effort by cleaning the streets after their activities are done, and not boot them from the city centre.
“If cleanliness is such a problem to Tengku Adnan, he should order City Hall (DBKL) to help clean up the areas used by the soup kitchens after their charitable activities are done, like the service they give to areas used for markets and night markets,” he said in a statement here.
“With help from the City Hall, these soup kitchen activities can transform into tourist hotspots that would only serve to benefit KL-ites,” Tuan Ibrahim insisted.
He was referring to Tengku Adnan’s warning yesterday that soup kitchens will be fined if they do not move out of central Kuala Lumpur by Monday.
The minister had also announced a prohibition zone for the NGOs — a 2km-radius around shopping mall Lot 10 in the Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle business hub — and said even those found donating to beggars will be fined.
The crackdown is part of a campaign by the Women, Family and Community Development Minister dubbed “Ops Qaseh”, which aims to keep the city’s streets free from the homeless.
Speaking on behalf of his party, Tuan Ibrahim suggested that Tengku Adnan pay a visit the homeless living in the capital to better understand their plight.
He noted that PAS periodically gives out free food from the party’s headquarters on Jalan Raja Laut to those facing hardship in the city, regardless their backgrounds.
“PAS will direct its Unit Amal to help the soup kitchens throughout their activities, including cleaning up the areas where they operate to ensure that the needy continue receiving aid from those willing to help them,” he said, using the Malay name for its welfare unit.
“The government should be more aware that there are many of those in need who live in KL. True, the city’s image should be protected, not by pulling the plug on charitable works but by stopping crime instead.”
After Tengku Adnan’s announcement yesterday, Dapur Jalanan Kuala Lumpur said in a statement that it will continue operations as usual, insisting the minister and DBKL have no right to determine where they should operate from.
“Because our activities do not use funds from the ministry or DBKL. So we have the right to determine the venue for our activities,” the group said.