AT LEAST 10,000 volunteers are needed to give a helping hand to the 220,000 senior citizens and disabled persons nationwide.
The call to arms for an increase in volunteers was issued by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, whose statement was delivered by Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan (pic below) during Ti-Ratana Welfare Society’s 20th anniversary dinner yesterday.
“Currently, there are only about 2,000 volunteers that have been appointed under the Social Welfare Department’s (JKM) Home Help Service Programme, which can only assist about 5,000 senior citizens and disabled persons nationwide," read Zahid' statement.
“The problem now is that the number of welfare volunteers are insufficient in comparison to 220,000 senior citizens and disabled persons who need assistance throughout Malaysia.
“Hence, I urge the public to take this opportunity to serve the community to assist them by enrolling in JKM’s Home Help Service Programme,” he said of the programme aimed at nurturing and creating caring local communities.
Zahid said the Government welcomed volunteer groups to step in and lend a helping hand to senior citizens and disabled persons in performing their daily routines.
These include physical support services by trained volunteers such as providing meals, cleaning accommodations, purchasing daily necessities, transporting individuals to hospitals or clinic and places of worship among other things.
“The programme can also be expanded to welfare homes, parent care centres and orphanages under the concept of 'social outreach' to provide continuous physical support services to the community.
“I believe every Malaysian should be responsible in ensuring that nobody is marginalised in this society," said Zahid, who noted that the Budget 2018 allocation of RM1.7bil to improve the welfare of senior citizens and disabled persons and children was a step in that direction.
“With an allocation of RM603mil, the senior citizen allowance was raised by RM50 to RM350 a month, which would benefit almost 144,000 people.
“The allowance for disabled persons, both employed or unemployed, has increased by RM50 per month, which will benefit 163,000 people with an allocation of RM100million.
“The government has also diversified aid programmes, totalling in RM1.7bil to all parties concerned, including senior citizens, disabled persons and children,” he added.