Giving money to street beggars might soon carry a penalty in Indonesia's North Sumatra province, with the administration planning a fine of 6 million rupiah (666 U.S. dollars).
The local government said it has been preparing the draft local ordinance to be submitted soon to the provincial Legislative Council for approval in October this year, English daily The Jakarta Post reported Friday.
The draft regulation, which is expected to curtail the growing number of beggars in the region, is currently being publicized across the province.
"Residents should be aware of this new regulation since a resident who is caught giving money to a beggar will be fined 6 million rupiah. A beggar who is caught receiving money from a resident will be jailed for six weeks," Head of North Sumatra Social Services Office Nabari Ginting was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
North Sumatra, he said, ranked third in the number of beggars after Jakarta and East Java.
"There are around 11,000 beggars across the province. Out of that number, 30 percent are children below the age of 12 years old," Nabari said.
Many beggars can make good income of some 55,0000 rupiah a day and that had encouraged more people to take up begging.
"We can't let this happen. We don't want a begging culture to be widespread. It is embarrassing the country," Nabari said.
North Sumatra is not the first region to introduce such a regulation. Bali and South Sumatra already have local ordinances preventing people from giving money to beggars and street children and instead encouraging people to donate to orphanages and nursing homes.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Ağustos 2007, 16:38