JOHOR BARU: The Johor government is appreciative of the role that non-governmental organisations play during the present economic slowdown, especially in helping the needy and those who have lost their jobs.
Johor Mentri Besar’s special adviser (Indian affairs) K. Raven Kumar, however, said that while playing an active role to help the communities was commendable, the NGOs should “think big” because presently many focused on offering the same services.
“Many Indian-based NGOs that we have engaged with also operate in a particular area and their social services revolve around seeing to children’s education by giving free tuition or ensuring the needy get free food, ” he said.
He said that while there was nothing wrong in doing so, there were other roles that the organisations could play.
Raven Kumar, who is also Tenggaroh assemblyman, said that when the Covid-19 pandemic was overcome, he would meet with NGOs at a townhall session to gather feedback and exchange ideas with them in order to render aid to the community in a broader range of issues.
He noted that many of the Indian NGOs in the state were dependent on government grants to fund their activities.
“They should come up with plans to generate income to fund their activities or even look into organising donation drives when the situation permits, ” he said, adding that the Johor government would not be able to help all the NGOs in the state.
Raven Kumar acknowledged that many people were still in need of handouts and would find it difficult to survive otherwise.
“We must look into having a blueprint to help the Indians and resolve the many issues affecting the community here, ” he said.
He also urged Indian NGOs to get the needy among the community involved in agricultural activities under the state’s food security programme to generate income.
“Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad is concerned about the plight of the Indians in the state, especially now during the pandemic, and has given allocations to Indian NGOs to help those affected, ” he said in an interview.
Raven Kumar said the impact of Covid-19 on the economy had also affected the running of temples in Johor.
“Many temple management committees are seeking financial aid from the state government to pay their staff and even utility bills.
“I hope the Federal Government will reopen the borders with Singapore as many people are jobless and in dire straits.
“So far there has been no definite decision on the reopening of the borders that have remained closed since March 18.”
He added that to help the needy during Deepavali, the government had allocated RM10,000 to each of the 56 assemblymen in Johor to give out food baskets to the poor.
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