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PUBLISHED: Jul 21, 2014 6:09pm

NGOs helping the homeless to get MyKad

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THE RAKYAT POST By:
FONG KEE SOON

Latheefa Koya (right), adviser for legal rights group Lawyers for Liberty, says without their MyKad, the homeless can face arrest anytime, especially with the ‘Ops Kasih’ by the authorities to round up the homeless from the streets. — TRP pic by Arif Kartono

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 21:

A coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including soup kitchens, is helping the homeless in the city to apply for their MyKad.

Latheefa Koya, adviser for legal rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL), said without their MyKad the homeless could face arrest anytime, especially with “Ops Kasih” by the authorities to round up the homeless from the streets.

“If they are without MyKad, they could be considered as illegal foreigners and end up being detained by the Immigration Department.

“Without the MyKad, they are also unable to get jobs and apply for aid from the Welfare Department.

“They cannot afford the fine for replacement, which is from RM110 to RM300, depending on how many times the MyKad has been lost,” she told reporters today outside the Cahaya Suria building in Pudu.

Also present were representatives from Empower, Dapur Jalanan and The Nasi Lemak Project.

Earlier on, the LFL and several NGOs, including Empower, Dapur Jalanan and The Nasi Lemak Project, helped a group of homeless people to submit their applications for MyKad at the National Registration Department (NRD) office at Pudu Sentral.

Empower programme officer Wong Kar Fai said the NRD had verified their status as Malaysian citizens, but it could only give them a discount.

“They could only get a waiver with permission from the NRD headquarters in Putrajaya.

“We helped them to fill up application forms to get the waiver and we hope the government will give it due consideration,” he said.

Wong added the applicants had previously written to the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry and Women, Family and Community Development Ministry some time ago to highlight their situation, but have yet to receive a reply.

LFL executive director Eric Paulsen said the homeless are “falling through the cracks” as they do not fit in with the few criteria for exemption from fines for losing the MyKad.

“For example, they are required to have a letter of support from the Welfare Department or the village head, which they won’t have as they are not welfare recipients, neither are they living in a rural area.

“We have previously suggested to the government that the NRD also accept supporting letters from MPs and assemblymen, but to no avail.”

Paulsen said this would be a good opportunity for the government to show its sincerity in helping the homeless.

“We are not asking the government to give money. Just give the homeless their MyKad without taking money from them (in the form of fines).”

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