The Borneo Post
Set clear criteria for distribution of food aid, state govt told
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.