Street Beggars

Sep 13th, 2007, in News, by

Laws against giving money to street beggars.

A new public order by-law in Jakarta forbids the giving of money to beggars, buskers, car windscreen cleaners, and street kids, or the buying of food or goods from illegal roadside stalls. On 10th September all seven parties represented at the city council agreed on the bylaw, which is intended to replace a 1988 regulation and is hoped to make Jakarta a more ordered city. Punishments for transgressions are jailing for between 10 and 60 days or fines ranging from 100,000 rupiah ($11) to 20 million rupiah ($2,100).

Jornal Effendi Siahaan of the City Council’s Law section explained that giving money to beggars only made such people dependent on random charity in public places and caused them to see begging as their occupation in life. He also worried about the existence of begging syndicates, whereby the humble beggar was a stooge used by more clever and greedy controllers.

What’s more, because Jakarta was such a magnet for the country’s rural poor, easy money from begging only encouraged the movement of more and more people to the city, causing further social problems. hukumonline

Meanwhile, according to the Jakarta Post, Yayat Supriatna, a sociologist at Trisakti University, counters:

The fundamental thing here is that many beggars and street vendors are those who come from rural areas because they can’t find jobs there and so they are trying their luck here, the centre of business. In the meantime, the administration hasn’t always been ready for the massive influx of rural people, either on the policy side or in terms of providing facilities.

Yayat said it was peculiar for the administration to complain that it was being burdened by poor people who made the city filthy when it was the government that was not providing jobs for the poor but instead Jakarta people who were doing so because they feel sympathy for beggars and such people.


16 Comments on “Street Beggars”

  1. Andrew says:

    I am having problem envisioning how this law can improve the situation. Instead of addressing the root cause of the issue, they choose to target the philanthropists — brilliant.

  2. Daniel Khaleel says:

    The by-laws are absurd, it is just another sign of the craziness of the world we live in, mis-placed priorities, detached government ministers, they think they can sweep the problem under the rug and that no-one will notice.

    Perhaps they need foreign consultant to come in and do ‘root cause analysis’ for them. However, I believe that I can predict the final recommendation already:

    “Well Mr Siahaan, we believe that the root cause comes from your ministers misusing tax payers money on their own lifestyles, we recommend that you redirect this money to serving the community and providing education and employment opportunities for your countries citizens”.

  3. Ihaknt says:

    Go Daniel!!

  4. Odinius says:

    It’s not like anyone obeys the law in Jakarta anyways…spend a day in macet and you can see that clearly enough…hell, the police don’t even bother. Why do paperwork when you can just get paid directly?

  5. Falcon says:

    The problem of beggars will never cease simply if the population do not stop growing, despite it is a large country. Indonesian are very productive in bearing children but has heavy burden in creating employment for the future.

    All those religious leaders are encouraging to have more kids and more children, but they never provided solutions when the children become grown-up adults where jobs are needed which are scarce and will worsen in the future. While ASEAN needs more qualified educated individuals for the future, the unqualified ones are quadrupling. The reason to have more children is very specific, is to create the mass.

    Look in the compound areas around late noon one will see so many mothers doing nothing with so many children running around. The fallacy is that children will provide pension benefits when growing old. Children sell news papers, beg for money and other activities while the proceeds are for their parents to support their living and schooling perhaps.

    In the island of Java the population is estimated to be 116 millions. Is estimated starting in 1977, 10,000 mothers are giving birth everyday and for this reason the country is overpopulated. Something went wrong. Every one can claim that Indonesia is big with abundant natural resources but what will it do if there is insufficient capital to exploit all these natural resources while disalocations matters and corruption magnifies the problems. This however is not an excuse.

    The bowl of rice to feed everyone was large once that no one goes hungry, true the bowl of rice got bigger but the population exploded while the bowl of rice looks much smaller today. Indonesia was a net rice exporter over two decades ago, today it needs to import rice and especially rice for the poor but even the poor do not not want the poor’s rice since the quality is so inferior and infested with bugs.

    In order to increase GNP per capita the country has to export a large percentage of its population while to increase its GDP it needs production facilities with an increasing value added. Natural resources exploitation will certainly not decrease the number of the poor significantly.

    Indonesia leaders do not understanding or probably understood but too timid to argue the burdens of population and growing poors. They are not discouraging or stopping population growth. When poor, jobless and probably landless or with land to cultivate however where the point of diminishing return come into effect, the best answer is to migrate to the big cities. During lebaran Jakarta is almost empty, all seasonal workers and city migrants are returning back to their villages. Government sand should be aware that mass migration of short nature is a significant and unproductive economic burden.

    Those religious leaders must teach the population spiritually that by having uneducated children, not providing them with schooling to the highest potential and necessary skills for today’s job requirements; therefore, simply become low paid unskilled workers and beggars, is the biggest sin and reason for not going to heaven.

    With this ruling, other big cities will follow soon. Every one likes to have a clean city and not populated with beggars, temporary street vendors, temporary huts and many others including air pollution and garbage in the rivers. However a constructive action must be taken while a solution to the problem is mandatory. So lets educate the less educated or the uneducated so the population stop growing starting now.

  6. Pakmantri says:

    Aah, my brothers and sisters if you think these officials are a bunch of morons, you are all 10 steps behind.
    Let me explain, it is another loop hole to make fast money.
    here how it works, when somebody caught giving money to a beggar by the police or bylaw-police, instead of going with all the trouble of in court that he/she will loose anyway the police will offer him/her a deal (jalan damai). A fraction of the maximum fine (20% – 40%) will work, you don’t have to go to court and the police does not have to do any paper work. And the money some goes to the policeman and some goes to the pool at the office for the bosses.
    See everybody is happy, except the beggars they’ll eventually starved to death and gone problem solved. Unless they become a real criminal to survive, than they’ll create another law that will make the new criminals pay in order not to be shot by “penembak misterius”.
    Everybody pays …… 🙂

    Oh, by the way, I have a question; is an official who give a hint to a contractor that try to get (bidding for) a project for the government like “My son is graduating from high school this year and will try to get in to the university, he might need money for that” can be considered as a beggar?

  7. HeavenlySword says:

    I see a vision that a new scenario will arise, a colaboration of policemen and beggars.

  8. dewaratugedeanom says:

    I see BODN (blame others, do nothing) in some comments. Blaming the authorities for everything however doesn’t solve the problem.
    There are also beggars and beggars. Just try to give them some food or even a small job. A lot of them won’t even accept it.
    But I agree that fining by the police will only become bait for corruption. Maybe caning will help?

  9. Odinius says:

    Pakmantri said:

    Let me explain, it is another loop hole to make fast money.
    here how it works, when somebody caught giving money to a beggar by the police or bylaw-police, instead of going with all the trouble of in court that he/she will loose anyway the police will offer him/her a deal (jalan damai). A fraction of the maximum fine (20% – 40%) will work, you don’t have to go to court and the police does not have to do any paper work. And the money some goes to the policeman and some goes to the pool at the office for the bosses.

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Plus the police can shake down the beggars too.

  10. sonnie says:

    If I see a poor old crippled woman, begging on a street, what should I do? I can’t give her anything because it will break the stupid law. I guess even the Government and the politicians whom are richer than me don’t do anything, do they really care anyway?

    (…what if the poor one is an angel in disguise sent by God to survey the nation?)

    I do agree with the law, if the beggars and street kids or whatever you call ’em are still young and healthy, you really don’t have to give them money. We have eyes and heart right?

  11. CA94 says:

    I do agree with the “new law” don’t always give them money that make them dependent.
    First, I believe it’s goverment’s job to provide them education & jobs. Second, if the society can help in anyway to educate & employ them, that’s really great.

    I think we all need to educate ourselves, we should..
    1) not taking other’s belonging (be clean, no corruption)
    2) not begging (be independent)
    3) giving others in need (care about other people in need in positive & constructive ways).

    Giving them money is sometimes necessary but it’s not always a good way to help them become independent. The help they need is to support (educate & employ) them so eventually they can fulfil their need on their own.

    What I see so far, many Indonesians just care about him/herself, family & group. They don’t care people outside their group. Wealthy people just help another wealthy people to get wealthier. Who help poor people get out of poverty?
    Another poor relatives?

  12. Pena Budaya says:

    Jakarta’s city government is confused. This regulation would not help the city at all. Such a waste.

    I bet that Jakarta has no proper civil administration so the city has no proper record of the poor likewise where they are originally came from, what type of employment, etc, etc. This sounds very simple and easy. But only good and effective administration would help a lot to categorise the type of group that easily fall into poverty in urban area like Jakarta. Therefore the city government can help and/monitor the poor instead of regulating stupid banning like now.

    In example, as if there is relevant data that majority beggars were originally coming from certain city outside of Jakarta/ rural areas, (immigrant), then, Jakarta could request cooperation with the respective local government to provide them vocational training to help these beggars to compete in the labour market. There are plenty of mechanisms to tackle poverty in urban areas and it always having strong corelation with the rural areas whereas these immigrants are majority coming from.

    Of course, effective administration can only be achieved as if there is clean government…hehe, and do we trust Jakarta has a clean government??

  13. Parvita says:

    I agree with this law. But I don’t see how long it will be implemented. Like the 3-1 jockeys. At the end of the day, nothing will happen.

  14. iamisaid says:

    I consider this as being another one of those typical senseless regulation in Indonesia if the draft regulation is passed.

    It is about the Authorities wanting to impose a penalty should any person be caught giving alms to a beggar. The beggar, on the other hand, if caught accepting alms, will be jailed.

    This is outright Officialdom hypocrisy.

    Let me start by giving the Authorities the benefit of the doubt, in that as they claim, many of these street beggars are part of an organized syndicate.

    However, I refute that the beggar would find it more reliable working for the Syndicate than to ever expect their own Government will do something to alleviate their plight. At least by begging he can look forward for a daily stipend of Rp55,000 for his efforts from the syndicate that manages him. For crying out loud, what is criminally wrong that these beggars are committing? The beggar is not stealing. The beggar is asking for alms in spite of the social stigma in being a beggar.

    Is it not in the Quran that alms giving (Zakat) is one of the Five Pillars of Islam (Arkan-al-Islam)? Zakat is to remind one about the less fortunate children of Allah is it not and that we have a moral obligation to help those who are in need and who are suffering? And what about voluntary charity which is called Sadaqah and may be given at any time and in any amount.

    In justifying that their action the Authorities appear to be unable to think some other solution for the impoverished citizens. In a sweeping act of haughtiness, they now wish to enact a law and damn the beggars. That sums up for their kind of wisdom.

    Whatever happened to the axiom that justice must be tempered with mercy?

    Would there be such haughtiness if the Authorities had someone of their own flesh and blood or saudara begging for alms on the streets? I recant and apologise because I have missed a point with such a blunt question. My point is, aren’t the beggars not brothers to all men too?

    As part of the impending regulation, The Authorities wish that the benefactor donates to an orphanage or to any other officially approved cause. Now, may I ask, why would anyone wish to donate to such establishments when it is rampant throughout Indonesia that there is no accountability for charity funds given to such establishments and that includes the Government as well?

    It is my observation that that is precisely where the problem is. It is a problem so huge that it dwarfs the entire population of beggars.

    The problem is that since time immemorial, there have been donations made to Indonesia from without and within the country. Countless donations. Massive donations. So much donations that it made the Indonesian Government and Agencies to lose themselves in the pile of donations. There has neither been any transparency nor public accountability for the enormous sums of money that has been sent for good causes in Indonesia.

    For example, take the most recent and notable pile. Was it not for example Vice President Yusuf Kalla who rebutted by saying that there will be accountability for all the foreign aid received for the victims of the tsunami in Aceh?

    Till this very day, I have not seen any public account of the funds received for the tsunami victims in Aceh. It is futile to even get into a discourse about what has been achieved till this very day for the survivors compared to the humongous amount of aid both in cash and in kind that the rest of the world poured out for their rehabilitation.

    It really takes something for nations of the entire world to look with the same compassionate eye at one place? It did when Indonesia had no resources to answer to the calamity in Aceh after the 2004 Tsunami.

    It is past mid 2007 today. What has happened to the entire world’s support that Indonesia received for the victims of Aceh?

    In addition, there has been scant improvement in job opportunities throughout the country. The meager income of the citizen is being assailed further by ridiculous price hikes for essential food and energy.

    Susilo Bambang rose to the Presidential Office on a popularity referendum of promises to improve the livelihood of his citizens and to address the needs of the poor. Great ! And that is as far as praise may be given for political piss talk.

    Those Presidential promises continue to be left to the whims and fancies of inept and corrupt leaders. Well, now that President Susilo Bambang is no longer an incumbent candidate for the Presidency but he IS the President, who dares to confront him about his Political Manifesto which included upgrading the poverty line in the country?

    It is appalling that the destitute are threatened with the enactment of such laws. They are jobless and they are in dire need. However by comparison, in broad daylight and under the knowing supervision of their senior officers, the Immigration and Customs staff are demanding bribes for all kinds of reasons from foreign visitors to Indonesia. They also demand bribes from Indonesian workers making it back to their hometown. Let me not even mention about bribery amongst other National Uniformed Officers. And therefore am I to take that it is customary and perfectly acceptable and their crime is less compared to the poor people begging on the streets in Medan?

    The Authorities should take counsel in the proverbial wisdom, “Do not cut off your nose to spite your face”.

    These law makers, these Officials, these elected leaders owe their salary and secure state in life to the Rakyat who empowered them to administer justly but what do they do?

    Instead of administering justly, they are in cahoots amongst themselves, conniving and thinking of all kinds of ways to en fatten themselves even if it means crushing the poor people in the same way we squash cockroaches with our feet.”

  15. Narendra Sharma says:

    It’s my thought that beggers is not begger by born but we prapair begger in our selfish nature. Some body want to kingdom on poor people and make them begger if they want not to prapair begger they can help them own work as business small scale and make threm self employed. Anybody can not want to make a begger but their poority and other sercomechances make a begger so I thought that if we change the mansikata of beggers too we will sucusse.

  16. shrawankumar says:

    i have a thought that purity & any prob its depend on the public if they have a idea so they can change their life or purity

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