MALAYSIA: A disturbing image has surfaced on a local Malaysian Facebook page (25 Jan), revealing a distressing scene in Tawau, Sabah.
The image displays a baby lying on a dirty sidewalk, with three adults nearby, believed to be begging for money while sniffing glue.
The accompanying captions express outrage and provide reasons why financial assistance should be withheld from these individuals.
The image also highlights the severe neglect of the baby, as evidenced by the fallen baby bottle just above the baby’s head.
The captions stress that these adults exploit innocent children and babies to elicit sympathy, and the money obtained is reportedly used to purchase glue.
Residents in Sabah shared their experiences in the comment section, revealing a persistent pattern of beggars using small children and the elderly to solicit money from locals.
Reports also indicated that when offered free food, these beggars often declined, emphasizing a preference for cash to acquire glue or drugs.
One commenter recounted a distressing encounter where beggars pursued them from a grocery store to their car, demonstrating the relentless nature of these solicitations.
The majority of comments expressed sympathy for the neglected baby and condemned the actions of the beggars.
Further insight into the situation revealed that these individuals are stateless residents in Sabah, primarily refugees from the Philippines who have been in the region for generations since the 70s.
The gravity of the issue gained broader attention when the post was shared on an X page, reaching a wider audience across Malaysia.
A related video shared by a commenter depicted a disheartening scene in Lahad Datu, where eight small children were shown sniffing glue to ‘alleviate hunger’.
Normal day in Lahad Datu.
Katanya hisap gam untuk tidak rasa lapar. pic.twitter.com/ORRAxsfXrJ
— Niezarul Hafiq (@niezarul_hafiq) January 26, 2024
A comment also emphasized the persistent challenges faced by visitors to Semporna, a popular tourist attraction in Sabah, due to beggars who persistently solicit money.
The overall narrative sheds light on the urgent need for coordinated efforts from authorities and the community to address the complex issues surrounding begging and substance abuse in the region.
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