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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9, 2014:

The Aug 16 deadline for soup kitchen operators is no longer in effect, said Federal Territories Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

“We are, however, in continuous discussions with them (soup kitchen operators) and we will also continue to monitor the hygiene level at places where they are operating at,” Tengku Adnan told reporters today.

“We have identified several locations based on our checks where they can operate from, but those who have been operating from their own base can carry on.”

Previously, Tengku Adnan had announced the now lifted deadline, to take effect after the Hari Raya celebration.

He said the date was agreed upon as the new enforcement date for the ban on giving out food to the homeless after a meeting with 12 non-governmental organisations (NGO) last month‎.

Tengku Adnan said that the NGOs are permitted to distribute food to the homeless, just not within a 2km radius from the city centre.

However, he said that NGOs with suitable premises such as houses of worship or their own buildings are excluded from the ruling, and they can continue distributing food even if within said perimeter. Last month, Tengku Adnan raised the ire of the NGOs when he announced that soup kitchens were no longer allowed to operate within a 2km radius of the Lot 10 shopping mall in Jalan Bukit Bintang. Citing cleanliness as a key issue, he said the move was to weed out alms-seekers and the homeless as well as soup kitchen operators who distribute food. “On the issue of the homeless, many accusations were hurled at me, but I do sit in warung (stalls) and I talk to them..I know their problem. “We are not looking at them like chickens who come in flocks and then have fodder thrown at them.. no that’s not the way,” he said today, in his speech at the launch of the 37th Army Veterans Association delegates congress here‎. “I have helped a lot of them. I have sat at bus stands, walked with them and helped them find jobs. “There are three types of people, the genuine cases, those with mental illness and those who merely try to take advantage and it is the third group that we are against,” he added. ‎”By nature I am a helpful man..I had a tough time growing up myself. I could not be a mechanical engineer, but I raised my siblings well..that’s life,” said Tengku Adnan.

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