THE Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) and state Welfare Department (JKM) are working together to find a more suitable location for a food distribution centre in the city.
State housing and local government committee chairman Ayub Jamil said for the time being, free food was being given to the needy at the Laman Tun Sri Lanang outdoor carpark on Jalan Ibrahim.
“Prior to making Laman Tun Sri Lanang a dedicated food distribution spot, non-governmental organisations and donors distributed food all over the city centre without any coordination and monitoring by the authorities.
“This made it seem like the Johor Baru city centre was full of homeless people and had also affected the cleanliness and image of the city, ” he said in a statement.
As such, Ayub said MBJB recently decided that Laman Tun Sri Lanang would be the dedicated food distribution centre so that the process could be done in a more systematic manner while complying with the Health Ministry’s standard operating procedures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
He added that since the second movement control order began in January, JKM recorded about 600 people receiving free food in the area, an increase from the previously reported 250-odd individuals.
“However, only 220 of them are homeless while the others come to collect food and some take extra to share with their friends and family.
“There are also those who take the free food to sell at another location, ” he said, adding that MBJB and JKM would be stepping up operations to help the needy.
Ayub also urged NGOs and donors to obtain the necessary approvals from the National Disaster Agency, Johor Baru district office and police before distributing food.
“Upon receiving permission, the NGO or donor should get in touch with JKM at 012-799 9067 and Malaysian Red Crescent Society at 018-768 5034 to obtain a date and time slot to distribute the food.
“Continuous monitoring of food distribution activities is needed to prevent wastage and ensure that the food is suitable for all, ” he said, adding that those who failed to comply with the rules would face action.