A care centre is allegedly using its disabled residents as street beggars, ostensibly to raise funds for itself.
A Negri Sembilan-registered association that runs the care centre has been found to have sent 10 of its residents to to the streets, to go begging.
Besides this, it has also recruited other disabled people to do the same.
The syndicate’s modus operandi was exposed when one of the centre’s male residents was arrested for street-begging in a special operations codenamed Ops Pengemis in the city recently. This involved 30 officers from the Johor Bahru District Social Welfare Department.
Ops Pengemis was headed by Mohd Faizal Abu Bakar, who said that the arrested beggar produced a letter to confirm that he is the registered resident of the care centre, and was soliciting for public donations for the centre.
The letter was found to be issued by a care centre located in Taman Puteri Wangsa, Ulu Tiram.
Upon further investigation, the care centre is said to be managed by an association registered in Negri Sembilan.
He said that the assocation has been given a stern warning and at the same time been given a month to register the care centre with the Johor Bharu Social Welfare Department failing which, it would be closed down and fined up to RM1,000.
The Social Welfare Department is empowered to seal any care centre not registered with the department, as provided for under the Care Giver Centre Act 1993.
All care centres registered with the Social Welfare Department are given financial assistance, and these centres should not resort to forcing its residents to go begging, he added.
Mohd Faizal also reminded the public not to be too generous when approached by beggars.