The Borneo Post

Set clear cri­te­ria for dis­tri­bu­tion of food aid, state govt told

- Hunger · Social Issues · Society

MIRI: The state gov­ern­ment must be trans­par­ent not only in re­view­ing the sta­tus of those el­i­gi­ble for food aid, but also in let­ting the pub­lic know the cri­te­ria for dis­tri­bu­tion of the aid.

DAP Se­nadin chair­man Mar­cus Hugo, who stated this, said the peo­ple needed to know how the re­cip­i­ents were iden­ti­fied and deter­mined.

He noted that when the chief min­is­ter an­nounced that the state gov­ern­ment had put aside RM16.4 mil­lion to pro­vide food to the peo­ple af­fected by the move­ment con­trol order (MCO) pe­riod, the chief min­is­ter said the food aid was to be dis­trib­uted to all the 82 state con­stituen­cies.

“The pro­cure­ment and dis­tri­bu­tion of food is sup­posed to be through the Disas­ter Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee. The step taken by the state gov­ern­ment to pro­vide this food aid is lauded and very much wel­come by the poor and needy in the com­mu­nity. They have looked for­ward to the im­ple­men­ta­tion of this piece of good news since a few days ago with re­lief and ex­pec­ta­tion,” he said.

Mar­cus ac­knowl­edged that some ar­eas had be­gun to carry out the dis­tri­bu­tion of the food aid.

“News is that many hope­fuls are not get­ting it. This seems to be the case in both ru­ral and town ar­eas. We un­der­stand that the bud­get may not be enough for ev­ery­one to get a share. So, the gov­ern­ment must be trans­par­ent to let the pub­lic know what the cri­te­ria for dis­tri­bu­tion of the food aid are,” Mar­cus em­pha­sised

“Per­haps the gov­ern­ment can tell the value of food aid given to each house­hold. The au­thor­ity must have a good up­dated fig­ure of the peo­ple who need this help. It is not enough just to go by the ap­proved list of the of­fi­cial BSH or wel­fare aid re­cip­i­ents,” he pointed out.

Ac­cord­ing to Mar­cus, who is also Ko­mu­niti Hara­pan Se­nadin chair­man, there are many more peo­ple find­ing dif­fi­cul­ties to put food on the ta­ble dur­ing the MCO.

“These are the ca­sual work­ers, daily paid work­ers, con­tract work­ers, and off­shore work­ers work­ing with oil and gas com­pa­nies. These peo­ple are paid if they go to work only. Their term of em­ploy­ment may not be cov­ered by the Min­istry of Hu­man Re­sources rul­ing that re­quire their em­ploy­ers to con­tinue to pay them even if they do not turn up for work dur­ing this pe­riod. Some have not been go­ing to work for some rea­sons for days even be­fore the MCO was an­nounced,” the re­tired high school prin­ci­pal pointed out.

“There are oth­ers like small stall traders, hawk­ers, taxis and e-hail­ing car driv­ers. Be­fore this they may have some lit­tle in­come, which can pro­vide for the fam­i­lies,” he added.

The Catholic Wel­fare Coun­cil Miri Dio­cese chair­man stressed that with the Covid-19 out­break and MCO, life is re­ally hard for many, un­less they have plenty of sav­ings.

“It is im­per­a­tive for the au­thor­ity to look sym­pa­thet­i­cally to the plight of these peo­ple. The chal­lenge is for the au­thor­ity to iden­tify those peo­ple who need the food aid. In fact, be­sides the ba­sic food, many are ask­ing for baby food pow­der and pam­pers for the sick who are bedrid­den,” he said.

He urged the au­thor­ity to al­low the NGOs, po­lit­i­cal par­ties and re­li­gious vol­un­teer groups to as­sist and com­ple­ment the ef­forts of the gov­ern­ment.

“To en­sure com­pli­ance with the MCO re­quire­ment, the au­thor­ity can set a clear guide­line for them,” he sug­gested.

 ??  ?? Mar­cus (right) re­ceives face masks do­nated by Pakatan Hara­pan Sarawak sec­re­tary Sen­a­tor Alan Ling for the for­mer to dis­trib­ute to church work­ers and some adopted poor fam­i­lies.
Mar­cus (right) re­ceives face masks do­nated by Pakatan Hara­pan Sarawak sec­re­tary Sen­a­tor Alan Ling for the for­mer to dis­trib­ute to church work­ers and some adopted poor fam­i­lies.
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