THERE has been a delay in distribution of food baskets in Sarawak’s Sibu district because of stricter standard operating procedures in place amid the movement control order.
Sibu Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Charles Siaw said recipients of such aid had been urged to be patient.
He noted that it was much easier to distribute the food baskets to recipients during the first MCO in March last year.
“During the original MCO, we could distribute the items more easily, ” he said.
He added that from Jan 20 to Feb 5, only 25,529 recipients or 44.19% of the total of 57,774 in Sibu district had received their food baskets.
Each package worth RM70 consists of cooking oil, a bag of rice, sugar, flour, tinned sardines, biscuit, tea and instant noodles.
Sarawak government is spending RM5.1mil to provide food basket to the needy in the 11 state constituencies in Sibu, Selangau and Kanowit.
As for the 3,000 selected recipients in Sibu Jaya, distribution to the area has been put on hold due to the MCO.
“The centralised distribution centre is at the premises of Sibu Foochow Association in Jalan Salim.
“Residents of Sibu Jaya can only go in and out of the area if they have a police permit. This is why we have to put the distribution on hold, ” said Siaw at a press conference.
He said they were grateful to have the assistance of Sarawak Dayak National Union’s (SDNU) Sibu branch in distributing the food baskets.
“Of the 1,350 names submitted by Sibu SDNU, 710 households have received the aid, leaving a balance of 640, who will be receiving theirs soon, ” he added.
SDNU Sibu branch chairman Chambai Lindong said it would continue to work and cooperate with the Resident Office, district office and all government departments to ensure that the general welfare, security, health and safety of the community would be looked after during the MCO, scheduled to end on Feb 14.
Meanwhile, Siaw denied reports in a news portal that some residents in the district were starving after people lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
He stated categorically that there was no starvation in Sibu.