Thu, Dec 17, 2009
MORE than 5,000 refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have flocked into Butterworth to become beggars, reported China Press.
Penang Health, Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said most of them were from Myanmar and children were used to gain sympathy from the public.
"When they land in Malaysia, the government cannot take any action against them. If they are arrested, the most we can do is to hand them over to the Welfare Department and provide the necessary assistance," he said.
Phee said that under to the law, refugees cannot work in the country and this results in begging.
Meanwhile, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Michael Chong said foreign beggars earned more than the white-collared workers in Malaysia.
"They get at least a few thousand ringgit and even up to RM10,000($4088) a month," he said, adding that the foreign beggars, most of whom were from China, Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan and India, were linked to "bogus beggars" syndicates.