Johor DAP rep Sheikh Umar alleges ‘pressure from above’ prevented aid from reaching school in need

Ben Tan
·2-min read
Sheikh Umar with contributions of essential items in his service centre after Sekolah Kebangsaan Paloh 2 called off the handing over of the items late yesterday. — Picture courtesy of Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali
Sheikh Umar with contributions of essential items in his service centre after Sekolah Kebangsaan Paloh 2 called off the handing over of the items late yesterday. — Picture courtesy of Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali

JOHOR BARU, April 8 — Paloh assemblyman Sheikh Umar Bagharib Ali today questioned the federal government’s alleged role in “barring” him as an elected representative from providing aid to needy students, teachers and staff of a primary school in his constituency today.

He claimed that his contributions to the primary school, Sekolah Kebangsaan Paloh 2, were stopped at the eleventh hour due to school authorities requesting that the handover event be cancelled due to “pressure from above”.

“The items to be donated are from my service centre, the Mengkibol assemblyman’s service centre and the public. Donated items include rice, biscuits and face masks.

“The contributions will be channelled to approximately 200 recipients involving students, teachers and staff of Sekolah Kebangsaan Paloh 2 who were recently hit with the Covid-19 virus,” said Sheikh Umar in a statement issued today.

As a result, Sheikh Umar said he wanted Education Minister Datuk Mohd Radzi Md Jidin to clarify if such obstacles barring elected representatives in the area from carrying out welfare duties existed.

“I also ask the minister to come forward and give an explanation on the ‘pressure from above’ allegation that has arisen so that incidents such as the one in Sekolah Kebangsaan Paloh 2 do not cause confusion and spread to other areas.

“It must be given serious attention as elected representatives should not be prevented from serving the people, especially in difficult times during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sheikh Umar, who is also the Johor DAP Youth chief.

Sheikh Umar explained that he contacted the school last night to confirm the handing over of the contributions, but later received an anonymous call at around 11.30pm appealing for the event to be immediately cancelled.

“The individual claimed that the school received ‘pressure from above’ after my visit on April 5 this year, where I took the initiative to provide food to students and staff who were undergoing a Covid-19 screening,” he claimed, adding that the school’s Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) had later also confirmed the cancellation.

Sheikh Umar said for the record, he had only intended to drop off the donated items for 200 people at the school so they could be delivered to each recipient by its administration.

“I have no plans to make deliveries to each of the 200 individual recipients.

“It is hoped that the contributions can better arranged by the school given its physical area which can streamline the standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance process,” said Sheikh Umar.

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