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KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign beggars are making their rounds at busy traffic light junctions in the city, endangering themselves and motorists.
Many motorists have expressed concern that the beggars, whom they believe are Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, might get themselves injured or killed or cause an accident as they approach cars stopping at a red light.
Afidatul Aisyah Amad, 24, urged the authorities to take action against the beggars before anything untoward happens.
"They should not be begging at the traffic light junctions. It is very dangerous to them and also to the motorists," said Afidatul who had encountered them on several occasions.
"I always see them at the exit of the Federal Highway heading towards the Damansara-Puchong highway.
"I think the authorities should do something as it also gives tourists a bad impression of our country," she said.
Another motorist Hairul Nazim Mat Isa, 24, believed that a syndicate could be using the foreigners to beg.
Hairul Nazim said he had encountered them in many places in the city.
"The authorities should investigate who is behind the syndicate," he said, adding that the beggars could be moving from place to place to avoid detection by the authorities.
Mohd Zamir Mat Zain, 25, is another motorist who had encountered the beggars.
"I live in Bandar Mahkota, Cheras, and I can see the beggars waiting at the traffic light junction almost every day," he said, adding that he found it annoying when they knocked hard on his car windows to get his attention when he ignored them.
Another driver Khairul Affendy Abdul Wahab, 25, said that the refugees should be placed in a camp.
"The authorities should come up with an effective strategy to curb this problem," said Khairul Affendy.
Meanwhile, the Rohingya Society in Malaysia (RSM) deputy president Abdul Ghani Abdul Rahman said he was aware of Rohingya refugees begging on the streets.
"We cannot deny that most of the beggars are Rohingyas but there are also other refugees such as from Sri Lanka, Sudan and Somalia who also begged on the streets," said Ghani.
"I met some of the Rohingya families and asked them to stop begging but they said they have no other way to support themselves," he said.
Ghani said there were about 40,000 Rohingyas in the country.
"About 25,000 of them are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) while the rest have yet to receive their refugee registration cards," he said.