JOHOR BARU: Johor-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) hope the state government will allocate funds for them under Johor Budget 2021.
Persatuan Kebajikan Shafar Johor Baru (PKSJB) chairman Fauziah Shaik Omar said financial assistance was important for them to carry out activities and programmes for the needy.
She said the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) since March 18, to contain the spread of Covid-19, had affected charity organisations financially.
“We are getting less money from well-wishers, usually businesses and companies, because they are affected too, ’’ she said.
Fauziah said the number of people seeking aid, however, increased during the pandemic, especially from low-income families.
She highlighted that the “Kita Kongsi” (We Share) programme run by PKSJB was initiated in November last year at Plaza Larkin.
She said it was one of the society’s main initiatives to help those in need.
“We give out essential food items to the hardcore poor, whose monthly household income is below RM1,000.
“We spend about RM10,000 monthly on these items for about 350 recipients.
“The money is from our funds and donors, ’’ she said, adding that more funds were required to carry on with the programme.
Fauziah hoped the state government would also focus on single-income families by providing upskilling programmes and reassignment for those who had lost their jobs during the pandemic.
Apart from the Kita Kongsi programme, she said PKSJB operated an orphanage, Rumah Anak-Anak Yatim in Jalan Limau, Kampung Pasir here for girls aged between seven and 12 years.
She said the orphanage was set up in 2015 and that operations cost was about RM20,000 a month.
Green Earth Society Johor president P. Sivakumar said continuous financial assistance was important to create better awareness on environmental issues among the people.
He said environment-related NGOs were the ears and hands of the government.
“We encourage more environment-related activities and programmes, ” he said.
Sivakumar said the state government must recognise and interact with all the NGOs and invite them to attend relevant meetings as well as take proactive measures to initiate meetings with NGOs.
“This way, the government can get our feedback and suggestions to improve and sustain the natural environment.”
He said different perspectives could help counter the often slanted and biased reports on the environment by government departments.
He stressed that more funds were also needed by NGOs to educate the public and deter them from throwing rubbish into rivers, which were the main source of raw water supply.
“So far, there is no help in funding from the state government for NGOs’ activities.
“We are not against development but Johor needs to strike a balance between progress and a sustainable environment for the people, ’’ said Sivakumar.
Johor Consumers Movement Association chairman Md Salleh Sadijo said next year’s state budget should emphasise on policies for a sustainable economy for Johor and its people.
He said that since the pandemic struck, many had lost their jobs, especially in the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“The employers and employees both faced losses.
“Measures must be found and put in place for SMEs to continue with operations and retain their workers, ’’ said Md Salleh.
He said that at the same time, small businesses must be encouraged by providing space and guidance through the local authorities and financial institutions.
He reasoned that this would provide self-employment.
“Many who are gainfully employed or doing business will avoid social ills or even borrowing from ah long (loansharks) and landing themselves in trouble.”
He emphasised that Johor must make aggressive efforts to continue attracting investors, especially from multinational corporations and high-tech industries.
Md Salleh said this would enhance the employability of graduates from local universities.
“Next year’s budget should be more people-friendly in nature and take into account the global economic challenges and uncertainties due to the pandemic, ’’ he added.
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