WE are thankful that Malaysians are a caring people and the Government too has done its part to assist the needy.
The Welfare Department (Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat or JKM) identifies those who are in need and grant them monthly financial subsidies. Those who qualify for such subsidies include the physically and mentally challenged (due to birth defects or through accidents) those who are infirm, and the elderly destitute.
While handicapped, many still manage to gain employment but they are usually lowly paid. For this reason, the Government grants them a monthly subsidy of RM300 which is credited to their account at Bank Simpanan Nasional. With the rise in the cost of living, the Government was kind enough to increase this subsidy from RM300 to RM350 from January 2015.
My daughter who is classified as a slow learner (orang kurang upaya) qualified for this assistance and had been receiving the money through a monthly bank credit since 2011. Till today, she is still paid below the minimum wage and is therefore entitled to the subsidy.
However, as of May, her monthly credit stopped abruptly. When we asked about this at JKM’s Kuala Lumpur office, we were advised to wait for the following month as there might have been some administrative hiccup somewhere along the line.
Unfortunately, over the next few months we were advised by the bank that no credits were received. Each month I would check with JKM for an explanation but the staff, a group of very helpful and compassionate individuals, could not shed any light on this unfortunate development.
Obviously the matter is beyond them.
During my last call to the JKM this month, I was surprised to find a large number of disgruntled people similarly trying to seek answers about non-payment of subsidies.
It is common knowledge that our Government is now facing various financial difficulties such as lower revenue from petroleum and other commodities and it has become necessary for it to review and rationalise subsidies granted in various forms.
However, I have to plead with the Government to go easy when dealing with the needy who are now crushed between a rising cost of living and the deprivation of a much needed government subsidy.
Please do not remove the subsidy entirely but reduce it if necessary so as to continue sustaining those who need it for as long as possible.