KUCHING, April 8 — State constituencies under the Opposition were not deprived of the special food aid meant for groups affected by the movement control order (MCO), state Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah stressed today.
She said it was clearly spelled out by the food supply chain subcommittee chairman Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan that all those eligible in all 82 state constituencies would receive the essential food aid.
“This is irrespective of whether the constituencies are under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) or the Opposition,” she said when responding to claims by Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen that areas under the Opposition were deprived and discriminated against from the food assistance.
Fatimah said the name list that Chong submitted has been handed over the Kuching Division Disaster Management Committee (KDMC) for verification for the purposes of central coordination, proper implementation and to avoid duplication of the target groups.
“As a matter of fact, the names that Chong submitted comprise individuals not only from the constituencies Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, and Batu Lintang but also beyond these four constituencies,” she said.
Fatimah said KDMC, with the assistance from the Sarawak Welfare Department, Malaysian Armed Forces, Volunteers Department of Malaysia (Rela) and other related government agencies, state assemblymen and MPs service centres and the relevant NGOs, has started delivery of food to the areas of Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, and Batu Lintang, from today.
“This is done in stages, and in compliance with the ruling of MCO,” she said.
She said it is also not correct for Chong to allege there was a delay by 20 days in the distribution of food aid to the target groups throughout the state after the imposition of the MCO.
“In fact, it only took us less than a week to initiate this food assistance to those in need in Sarawak,” she stressed.
Fatimah said the food supply chain subcommittee was set up on March 26 and its first meeting was held the following day while the budget for the supply of food was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg on March 29.
“Following that approval, our machinery on the ground had started operation since then, and as of today, all constituencies have started or some even have completed delivery of food supply to the target groups,” Fatimah, who is also the deputy chairman of the subcommittee, said.
“It is the objective of this subcommittee to ensure that the needy in Sarawak — the households in the rural and remote areas, the urban poor and those without income due to the MCO — are supplied with essential food assistance during the MCO period,” she said.
Fatimah also explained that modus operandi for the food essential supply (identification of target groups, purchase, distribution and transportation), is centrally coordinated and managed by the respective divisional or district disaster committees.
“The daily operation undertaken by the various DDCs in Sarawak is monitored closely by the subcommittee to ensure that all problems are discussed and solved instantaneously,” she added. — — —
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