KUALA LUMPUR: The government does not need to impose a fine on individuals who give money to beggars and the homeless as there are sufficient legal provisions to handle the problem, say several lawyers.
Lawyer Radzuan Ibrahim said the government only needs to focus on existing laws as these were adequate to tackle the issue of beggars and the homeless in the city.
For beggars from syndicates using children and senior citizens, action could be taken for cheating and dishonesty under Section 420 of the Penal Code. They were also liable to be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine, he told Bernama.
“They can easily be caught. Some carry a letter from the religious department, tahfiz school and ministry, so we can investigate who the organiser is (of the activity) and whether the document is fake,” he said.
He added that enforcement was needed because beggars were carrying out their activities in the open at shopping malls, restaurants and petrol stations.
Radzuan said this when asked to comment on the government’s proposal to create by-laws to fine those who give money to beggars in order to solve the problem.
On the suggestion to impose a RM150 fine to those who give alms, expected to be carried out soon, Radzuan said the action was extreme.
“Islam encourages the giving of alms. When there are laws on it, it’s like stopping them from doing good,” he said.
Meanwhile, University of Malaya Syariah and Law Department senior lecturer Dr Siti Zubaidah Ismail said besides allocations in the Penal Code for criminal cases, the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL) already had the Local Government Act 1976.
Under this act, she said DBKL had the authority to handle problems caused by beggars.
“I feel the existing laws are enough if executed well. Beggars sometimes bother the public, but if the government wants to curb this they need to see it in various aspects including how it started and the source,” she said.
Regarding the proposal to impose the fine, Siti Zubaidah said it was “an abnormal approach”.
Sukarelawan Peguam Untuk Semua (SukaGuam) president Khairul Anwar Rahmat, who is also a lawyer, also did not agree with imposing the fine because it was a form of stress on the poor who really needed help.
“There may be beggars who are involved with syndicates, but it can be overcome with allocations under the Immigration Act, Penal Code and several acts under the Social Welfare Department.
“The government doesn’t only need to handle this issue but also needs to study this never-ending problem,” he said.
He also hoped the fine would not be imposed on givers of alms because it would be made a joke.
“Nowhere in this world do they fine those who give alms. The fine will stop people from doing good,” he added. – Bernama