MIRI: From afar, the crowd can be mistaken for those lining up to buy tickets to a movie but upon closer inspection, I found they were lining up to collect the RM300 under the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) programme.
Hundreds, many from interior settlements, crowded the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) branch in Miri and there were long lines stretching into the street.
The programme was formerly called Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M).
The long queues went on for a few days.
Sarawak PAS commissioner and Miri PAS chief Jofri Jaraiee, who noted the situation expressed dissatisfaction with the method of dispensing the aid.
“For BR1M, the money was automatically deposited into the recipients’ bank account.
“Now, they can only get the money from BSN and the process is long.
“The government must sort out this problem,” he said.
Indeed, the situation is more than messy.
The long wait just to get a form and fill it is made worse by the fact that the Miri BSN branch has only a few officers on duty, causing inconvenience to the people.
Those from far had rent rooms or squat on the streets to get the money.
Some even brought along their children who had to suffer alongside their parents.
What the BSN branches in Sabah and Sarawak can do is liaise with state assemblymen and MPs to work out a payment mode or schedule for the disbursement of BSH.They can set up mobile counters and make the process easier for the recipients.
If not sorted out, we will see the same messy situation again during the next round of BSH payment in the third quarter of this year.