KOTA KINABALU: The state government should seek the Federal government’s help, and use multi pronged approach, to thoroughly address the perennial street kids issue, said Tan Sri T.C Goh, President of The Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah (FCAS).
Noting that the said issue has become worse, of late, as reported by the local media, he agreed with the recent proposed move for the state government to build temporary shelter for the street kids who are the “stateless children” produced by the illegal immigrants in the state.
He acknowledged that poverty was the key factor contributing to the increasingly desperate and bold behaviour of the street kids, who were found begging on the busy streets in the Kota Kinabalu city centre, knocking on car windows and frightening road users without any regard for their own personal safety. It has essentially become a public nuisance.
While acknowledging that children are the nation’s future generation, he nonetheless cautioned that if these street kids or stateless children are not properly taken care of, they may inevitably become a heavy burden to the nation.
Hoping that the Federal Government could fully support and assist the state government to address the issue, Goh who is also a member of the Sabah Economic Advisory Council (SEAC) then called on the state government and the local authorities to establish a special committee, to thoroughly study the issue and to come out with both short and long term measures to fully resolve the perennial issue, effectively.
Goh who is also President of The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) urged this in a statement issued today, while commenting on the street kids menace in Kota Kinabalu City, lately.
He then recalled that during the Barisan Nasional (BN) government era, back in 2016, the then Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim while speaking in the Dewan Negara had said that her ministry was seriously looking into addressing the street kids issue. In 1989 the Federal Government also set up a special task force under the National Security Council (NSC) which comprised various government agencies including the Welfare Department, the police, Immigration Department, National Registration Department (NRD), with the chief aim of addressing the street kids issue. Unfortunately, it seems that the said special taskforce was just for window dressing. When the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government came into power, it too announced the setting up of such a special taskforce, but it too failed to produce any tangible results, and it has even gotten worse now.
Goh also proposed that when carrying out major operations against the street kids, the relevant authorities should be more thorough in tackling the issue, including identifying the parents of the street kids, in order to have a better picture of the issue.
“As for those street kids who are without parents, they should be taken to the temporary shelter, and be provided with basic education and skills training,” he added.
While acknowledging that the measure of providing temporary shelters for the street kids is urgently needed, he nonetheless opined that it is only a temporary measure, adding that the issue needs to be effectively addressed at its root.
He noted that a majority of the street kids spotted in Kota Kinabalu City are the stateless children of Filipino descendants or the Palauh or sea gypsy. Official statistics estimated that currently there were around 200,000 stateless children in Sabah, a figure which should not be ignored by the state government.
Goh said he too had on numerous occasions personally seen how some of these street kids harassed the motorists and the pedestrians in Kota Kinabalu City. He thus hoped the police could step up patrolling to act against these street kids.