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Act on street beggars: Hiew
Published on: Wednesday, November 29, 2023
By: Mohd Izham Bin Hashim
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Act on street beggars: Hiew
Street beggars and undocumented people rounded up during an operation in Kota Kinabalu.
Kota Kinabalu:  The Sabah Government needs to take stern action against street beggars which would leave a negative impression on tourists visiting the State. 

“There needs to be a serious approach and consistent efforts to tackle this problem because nowadays everything can be shared by anyone, including tourists, through social media,” said Karamunting Assemblyman George Hiew while debating the State Budget 2024 at the State Assembly. 

He warned that the presence of beggars at tourist hotspots in Semporna, Karamunting and islands could  create a negative perception of Sabah among tourists. 

“Foreign tourists, many of whom from China, have complained about street beggars and floating garbage due to indiscriminate littering,” he said.

“So much efforts and resources have been used to promote Sabah and attract tourists, but what is the point if visitors go back to their countries and spread negative experiences with street beggars in  Sabah?” he asked, urging the State Tourism Ministry to ensure the safety of tourists and address their concerns. 

Additionally, Hiew wants the State Government to organise more courses relevant to the oil and gas sector available for youths at institutions of higher learning such as Universiti Malaysia Sabah(UMS) and Mara. 

He pointed out that many highly skilled workers in the sector consist of mostly foreigners while many local youths are still jobless after finishing the Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM). 

“There needs to be more technical and skills courses for youths, so they don’t need to go far for training, get jobs locally and contribute to the State’s development,” he said. 

He hoped the new way forward for Sabah under Sabah Maju Jaya (SM) development plan will mean increased investment and brighter prospects for Sabahans to get job opportunities. 

Hiew also appealed to relevant authorities to carry out urgent repairs on the Karamunting Market amid growing concerns from the people on the safety of the building.  

“I’ve already highlighted this issue many times before. Local folk are worried the building could collapse anytime;  the sidewalk and parking area are in a deplorable state,” he said, urging the Ministry of Local Government and Housing as well as the Finance Ministry to provide assistance in carrying out much needed repairs on the market. 

“Local folks are still using this facility despite all the dangers. The safety and lives of the people should be our priority,” he said. 

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