IPOH, April 1 — DAP Socialist Youth (Dapsy) chief Howard Lee Chuan How urged the government today to address the plight of refugees in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lee said many refugees, especially day workers, were suffering financially due to the movement control order (MCO) that has stopped all non-essential activities.
The Pasir Pinji assemblyman warned that if the refugees do not receive any assistance during this period, the government could have social and public order issues added to its current economic and health crises.
“I don’t want to make presumptions, but when an individual — regardless of nationality and status — is hungry for a day and when it continues for a week and when they have a family to feed it will lead to desperation.
“When you’re desperate, you will do anything to be fed. The anything here could be either you starve to death or you steal or you mug. What choice do they have?
“Over the last two to three days, there was a spike of petty crimes. Those petty crimes we are seeing and hearing are the ones that reported, let alone, those are not,” he told Malay Mail.
“If we don’t make sure there is a systematic way to deliver aid and help to these people, hungry people make the best thieves,” he added.
Lee also stressed that the government should help refugees regardless of their background as they are all human.
Earlier, Lee and his team distributed essential supplies to some refugees, who were mostly construction workers residing around Ipoh.
“We have been doing this since last week. We are focusing on helping two groups, mainly the ones who are vulnerable and desperate.
“The state government has allocated RM40,000 for each assemblyman to help their people in their respective constituency. However, the fund is not enough to extend the help for the refugees,” he said.
“At the moment, we have taken our initiative to help the refugees and we also express our gratitude to the private citizen who came forward to help us in this matter. We will continue this aid as long as we can sustain doing it,” he added.
Related Articles Coronavirus spreads in Latin America as cases pass 20k Covid-19: Malaysian woman in Egypt recovers and discharged from hospital Youth Worker federation advises young people to ‘stay home, not in jail’ in new PSAs amid Covid-19 shutdown