Should Begging be Illegal?

17 January 2011

Begging and panhandling as a legal issue, should it be illegal to beg or not?

Now, in most other countries or states where panhandling is strictly prohibited. Some may have rules here and there as well. But in Malaysia, there is no law prohibiting this act.

What is Begging or Panhandling?
These involve asking for donations/money with no legalized/official means of support, "camping" in an area waiting for people to drop coins, actively asking people to spare some money, using emotions to convince people of their money, and so on.

Panhandling that might make you feel better if you want to scream and curse at someone.

What are the Harms of This Act?
Begging is seen more like a trickery, and by exploiting humans' sympathetic qualities, they often earn quite a lot of money just by going around collecting spare change. The thing is, there is no lying/cheating/falsifying information in begging. If it involves lying, it becomes a con, which mostly is the case.

More professional panhandlers include those asking for donations for charity using specified donation boxes. They often prepare donation boxes with a SET amount of money only, such as $5, $10 and $20, so that your minimum donation is at least $5. This makes people feel that they should give more, which makes you feel cheated of your money.

Besides that, the beggar himself may become lazy and just spends the rest of his life begging because it's easy and can be quite a payoff. Normally, it is because the beggar lacks education or capabilities to work. Knowing that he will only be employed for a very small amount of salary that is insufficient to support himself or his family, begging seems to be the better choice.

There are some honest beggars who really can't make much of a living with no education and lacking capabilities to work.

Why I Think Begging is Okay
You have a choice.
If the beggar is not a conman, then it is okay. Nobody forces you to give your money. Begging should be distinguished from conning as not all beggars are conmen. There are some sincere and honest beggars who may be really lazy and lack the education, but it is our choice to give them money or not.

2. You shouldn't blame people for being an annoyance.
Everyone in the world can be annoying at times. If these beggars just seem annoying to you, you should be open and accept them. If you do not wish to pay them, simply walk away or tell them that you're not willing to give anything. If it becomes a harassment, THEN it becomes illegal.

3. Humans have the rights to do what they want.
We cannot simply say it is wrong just because people are lazy and come out to beg for money which may bear an awful sight. We cannot say that it is wrong just because there is a possibility that many people will become lazy, and become beggars, thus slowing down the development of the country.

It is their choice if they're lazy to work, or lack the education/capabilities to work. Beggars don't bring much of a harm to anyone, it is the conmen who do.

If too much beggars brings down the development of the country, spend some money and bring up a welfare so that you can find them a job. Accept them and employ them. If they refuse to be employed, what are we to do? Force them to work? Force them to stay at home? Just let them do whatever the hell they want to do.

There cannot be too many beggars, don't worry. If there are too many, then begging would become very difficult, and nobody would want to be one anymore. The public will be more aware not to donate to beggars.

If nobody gives money to beggars = beggars no money = beggars find something else to do.

Begging Companies
There are some sort companies which employ beggars to beg for money. Basically they send out beggars all over the place to get money, and then they'll get some salary for it.

It might be quite cheating or unfair, but I'm fine with it since I don't donate to beggars anyway. Why make it illegal? If we don't donate, the company will get bankrupt too. They're not doing any sort of business, they merely rely on donations, which is under our control.

It may be wrong, but it is not necessary to make it illegal and fine/jail someone for it. If you think begging is unfair, cheating and is a trick, then simply don't give your money. When everyone does not give their money, begging will automatically perish.

I'm basically talking about honest beggars who don't lie about themselves. The beggars who are not conmen. If they didn't con anyone, why jail them? They're just lazy, that's all.