A veteran journalist wants the government to explain why Lot 10 was singled out as its starting point to clear up the homeless by banning soup kitchens from operating there.

Blogger Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said other high-end property owners also do not like soup kitchens from operating in the vicinity of their establishments.

“So why did the government single out Lot 10 for this preferred treatment? My question is, why specifically to 2 km away from Lot 10? What is so special about Lot 10 anyway?,” he wrote in his blog.

“I hope it is not because it belongs to YTL Corporation, whose Managing Director, Francis Yeoh Siok Ping, had famously declared that he was not Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s crony,” he wrote.

He was commenting on Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor who had last week announced a ban on soup kitchens within the 2km radius of Lot 10.

Tengku Adnan said the homeless tarnished the city’s image and that they were purposely turning down jobs as free food is provided by the soup kitchens.

The comments drew wide criticism, forcing him to postpone the ban to after the Hari Raya celebration.

In his blog, Kadir said he supported Tengku Adnan’s ban – only if the government can ensure that everyone currently fed by the soup kitchen volunteers are taken care of.

He also pointed out that the non-governmental organisation had came forward to help the poor and homeless because the government had not done much to help them.

He said if the government can help the poor, the NGO and its volunteers can move on to do something else for the society.

Kadir who is also former New Straits Timer editor-in-chief urged the government to tackle the issue from a larger point of view.

“Finally, this issue of urban destitution should be seen within the larger context of economic inequality, unemployment, poverty and the lack of safety net for the poor and the destitute,” he wrote.

He said the government ministers and authorities would understand the plight of ordinary folks if they spend more time on ground, instead of their posh offices.

“A little walkabout on their own - like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad did when he was PM - may even make them healthier,” he wrote.