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PETALING JAYA, July 8:

Two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) today said the meeting on soup kitchens in the city clearly showed Putrajaya’s lack of knowledge on the matter.

The meeting with 12 soup kitchen providers was chaired by the Federal Territories Ministry in Putrajaya.

It was meant to find a solution to the issue of the homeless and operations of soup kitchens in the city.

KL Urban Fellowship member Debbie Loh lamented that the meeting was nothing more than a “lopsided affair”.

“We were told that six task forces had been set up by the ministry, but none to tackle urban poverty issues.”

Loh said that the six were units set up to address mere brick-and-mortar issues and not substantial matters relating to the topic at hand.

“In fact, Local Agenda 21 states that urban poverty issues must be given priority.”

(Local Agenda 21 is a global action plan or blueprint for sustainable city development and management.)

Loh also related to the media how the ministry’s secretary-general, Datuk Seri Adnan Md Ikshan, told the meeting that he only felt fear when he went out on his own to meet the homeless.

“He said he was afraid for his safety… that he might be harmed. This is just his own misconception.

“From the meeting today, we saw significant knowledge gaps on their part.

“We need to connect the government with the homeless community. We need to bring them (government) in as an important stakeholder.”

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (Empower) programme officer Wong Kar Fai said those who attended were even questioned by police representatives as to why they kept feeding the homeless for free and for how long they planned to do so.

“This is a clear point that the government does not have a proper structure in place.

“Their heads are filled with stereotypes about these people and their mindsets are also not correct as they are not willing to engage with the homeless,” Wong said.

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