Child and street beggars increasing in Tawau

TAWAU: Member of parliament Datuk Chua Soon Bui will raise the matter relating to the increasing number of child and street beggars in Tawau in Parliament for a total solution to the problem.

Chua said although the problem was nothing new as the members of the public are used to it by now, the number of beggars in Tawau is on the increase due to non-effective enforcement measures taken by the authorities.

“The lack of enforcement may send a wrong signal to the syndicates operating behind these beggars that begging on the streets is condoned in Tawau,” she said yesterday.

Chua personally had encountered with child beggars who were about 10 years old and mostly girls in the Sabindo area.

“These girls were carrying babies about six months’ old, under-nourished, inflicted with eczema, especially on their faces, laying them on the five-foot ways, seeking sympathy and begging for money,” she said.

She said she was even more shocked to notice a girl later dragging a baby on the floor and running towards big cars to beg for money.

“I asked the children for their addresses so that I could bring food and clothings for them but they just fled away without responding,” she said.

Chua said she had reported the matter verbally to the authorities concerned but it appeared that the number of children begging in other parts of Sabindo is on the increase.

The Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) vice-president urged the authorities to act on the matter seriously and to verify the status of those children and babies in Tawau.

“Who are the syndicates or the people behind this because it has become very apparent that they are not afraid of the authority?

“What message and impression does it give to visitors and tourists with the numerous street and child beggars in Tawau?” she asked.

“Can’t the government do anything about it? It is already bad enough that many street kids are selling peanuts at Sabindo night stalls. And now our streets are littered with an increase in the number of and child beggars.

“If the problem is left unattended, the safety and security of these children and babies are at risk and our enforcement of the law will be forever ignored. The people behind them may even resort to more drastic moves to look for sympathy and more money,” she said.

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