Need for greater public engagement

Ling presenting Socso benefits to a recipient while Philip (right) looks on.

SIBU: There is a real lack of awareness of people-centric programmes initiated by the Federal Government under Pakatan Harapan as it reaches its first year in power.

Sibu MP Oscar Ling blamed this on a lack of information about government programmes being disseminated in social media and poor publicity via traditional media.

“People nowadays rely on social media for information. But not all information about government programmes are found on social media,” he said after launching the Social Security Organisation (Socso) engagement programme with community leaders and the public.

As an example, he said he was shocked to find out that those present at a pap smear and mammogram screening campaign had not heard about PeKa B40, the healthcare protection scheme programme for the low-income group, or the mySalam B40 health insurance scheme.

The other example he gave was the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) loan scheme for small and medium entreprises which entrepreneurs were still in the dark about, resulting in them missing out on such benefits, Ling said.

The Pakatan government, he opined had a lot of catching up to do to inform the people about its activities and programmes.

Besides traditional and social media, he said the government needed to engage with the people so that information about its many programmes could reach them more effectively.

“We will need to have better engagement with the public so that they know of the new policies and schemes. This morning’s Socso programme is one such way to disseminate this information,” he said.

The Pakatan government, he added was more than willing to come out with more engagement activities with the rakyat.

Ling said he would work with government agencies to hold future public engagement programmes.

Meanwhile, Socso Sarawak director Philip Sangkan said due to lack of awareness, most applications for its invalidity scheme were received late by the department.

“So we hope through this engagement programme which started in 2008, the people, especially Socso members, will be aware of the benefits provided,” he said.

Philip added that response from taxi drivers to register themselves with Socso was rather slow while e-hailing drivers had responded more positively.

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