PUTRAJAYA: The government is grateful to soup kitchens for providing food for the homeless and needy, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim said today. However, Rohani said there are those who take advantage of soup kitchens and get themselves a free meal. “Sometimes they are giving free meals not only to the homeless but other people will also join in and that defeats the purpose. “Sometimes even tourists get in line because they don’t know (it is a soup kitchen), they think Malaysians are so generous they are letting everyone eat,” she told a press conference at her ministry today. Rohani was responding to criticisms on a move to evict soup kitchens from within a 2km radius of the Lot 10 shopping complex in the city. Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor had made the announcement on July 3. She said she recently met 12 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that run soup kitchens to explain that the government is only trying to rescue and rehabilitate the homeless through Ops Qaseh. Under Ops Qaseh, Rohani said the homeless will have access to temporary lodgings for two weeks, counselling, and job pairing services provided by the Human Resource Ministry, in Anjung Singgah. “We have said before that institutionalising is a last resort, but even as a last resort it is better than being on the streets; at least they are safe and fed,” she said. She said Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) is planning to open up shelters similar to Anjung Singgah to complement its services as well. On another matter, Rohani said she is aware that the RM300 allowance given to the disabled through the Social Welfare Department is not enough but the government needs to prioritise funds for other programmes. “The government has so much to take care of, so RM300 is enough for the moment, but it doesn’t mean we are going to stop providing assistance,” she said.