Now, Putrajaya says welfare groups may resume sending aid with supervision

Kenneth Tee
Charity group may again distribute aid to the poor and needy, the government said today. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 — Charity group may again distribute aid to the poor and needy, the government said today to reverse its previous directive for such activities to be halted during the movement control order.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun said her ministry and the Welfare Department have developed standard operating procedures for such groups to follow when distributing aid.

“This will ensure the distribution activities adhere to the regulations from the National Security Council and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act,” she said in a statement here.

Previously, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said non-governmental organisations helping to feed the poor and homeless during the MCO must stop delivering food directly to the needy.

He said at the time that the decision was made for the safety of the NGOs’ members and to minimise the potential for spreading Covid-19 during their distribution work.

According to the new SOP, groups wanting to distribute aid must show that they are welfare-oriented organisations.

They are also allowed to only dry food or cooking ingredients, and must notify the state Welfare Department a day before their aid distribution activities.

“NGO personnel involved must also be equipped with face masks and gloves with hand sanitisers prepared during the distribution process.

“They must also have their temperatures checked and asymptomatic to be allowed to be involved,” it said.

In addition, social distancing must also be observed and the groups must deploy no more than two people for their distribution runs, which must be accompanied by personnel from the People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) and Malaysia Civil Defence Force (APM).

Rina thanked the NGOs for their willingness to work together in ensuring aid was channeled to the people in an effective manner.

“The ministry appreciates the concerns expressed by NGOs in helping to channel contributions to the needy during the MCO period,” she said.

Interested NGOs are advised to contact their respective state Welfare Department office 24-hours operations room or for further information.

The expanded MCO enforced nationwide runs from April 1 until April 14.

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