Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Anti Beggars by-law
One of the purposes of fasting during the month of Ramadhan is to enable Muslims feel the suffering of poor people and show sympathy by giving charity.
For which purpose, several institutions have been given authority to collect the charities and to channel them to the poor people.
However, there are some people who want to give their charity directly to the poor among others to beggars. That is why, there are so many beggars on the streets of Jakarta during Ramadhan, most of them are organized by certain people who arrange the travel of those beggars from their homeland in other provinces among others Central Java.
In order to prevent those beggars from coming to Jakarta, two years ago the municipalty government and Parliament of Jakarta have passed a by-law in 2007 which forbid people from giving money to beggars, which carries a punishment of Rp 20 million (US$ 2,000) fine or 60 days in jail.
During the first ten days of Ramadhan, 12 Jakarta citizens have been arrested for giving money to beggars. Besides, the Jakarta Social Agency has gathered 850 beggars, including 83 infants.
The enforcement of this by-law is supported by the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) on one condition i.e. its enforcement should be carried selectively in the sense that people who donate to others who are really in need should not be arrested. MUI has even issued a Fatwa Haram for Beggars.
Meanwhile, a civil rights movement i.e. Urban Poor Consortium rejected this by-law, they said that such law can only be applied when there is no more poverty in Jakarta.
For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.
Considering the above, I felt that the timing for enforcement of above by-law is inappropriate, because during Ramadhan people are supposed to be more tolerant and forgiving toward others. However, considering the by-law has already exists its enforcement should inevitably be carried outn step by step.
Firstly, it should be accompanied by taking firm action against those responsible for bringing those beggars to Jakarta. Afterwards, there should be integrated efforts between the central government, the Jakarta government and government of the provincce where those beggars orginated, to prevent the beggars from leaving their villages i.e. by providing more job and/or money making opportunities for them.
Photo: Courtesy of Weelinx