KUCHING, March 28 — Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg today said the state government will form a working committee on the implementation of the aid and stimulus package which was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.
He said the committee will be jointly chaired by the state secretary and the federal secretary.
“The prime minister has directed that the distribution of the aid package will be under the jurisdiction of the state governments of both Sarawak and Sabah.
“So, on our part, we will form a working committee on how we can coordinate and implement the distribution of the aid package,” he told reporters after visiting a hypermarket at a shopping mall here.
He said the aid package announced by the prime minister yesterday will complement the state’s own “Sarawakku Sayang” aid package which he announced recently to cushion the impact of the movement control order (MCO).
He said the state Disaster Management Committee has also formed a food supply chain subcommittee to look into the overall food supply in Sarawak.
“We are getting all the data on the basic food items, especially rice, sugar, salt, flour, vegetables and cooking oil.
“Based on the feedback that we have, we would encourage stores to have a month’s supply of these basic commodities, and that will enable people to buy these food items without having to rush,” he said.
“What is important now is that the basic food supply chain is available for the extended 14 more days of the MCO.
“We don’t just look at Kuching, but also other areas. What is important now is that the food must also be available in the rural areas,” he added.
He said the state government will enlist the service of the military and other agencies to ensure that these food items are available in the remote areas of Sarawak, adding that the enforcement of the MCO has disrupted the food supply chain.
“So we need to find alternative transport networks so the people in the rural and remote areas do get the basic food items,” he said.
He said the state government will bear the costs of transporting the goods to the rural areas.
Abang Johari said the federal Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry must ensure that there are enough stocks of food items in the state.
He said he asked the federal ministry to ensure food prices are not hiked unreasonably by traders.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Tengah Ali Hasan, who was also present at the press conference, said the federal ministry has assured that there is enough supply of rice for three months.
Awang Tengah, who is also the food supply chain subcommittee chairman, said he has asked the operators of supermarkets and other food stores to get in touch with their suppliers for three months’ supply of food items, like sugar, flour and cooking oil.
“I told them at a meeting yesterday that they should increase their stocks to last for three months,” he said.
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