TO avoid being fined, those offering free food to the homeless have been asked to distribute them only at the designated Laman Tun Sri Lanang outdoor carpark in Johor Baru.
State women, family and community development committee chairman Zaiton Ismail (pic) said non-governmental organisations and individuals could be compounded RM250 by Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) if they were found distributing food packets in any other areas.
She said the increased number of homeless and needy in the city centre since the first movement control order in March last year, led to at least 45 NGOs and individuals to distribute free food and items in various parts of the city daily.
“Based on the data provided by the Malaysian Red Crescent Society (MRCS), the number of food packets given out daily was 2,000, which is more than enough.
“Due to the oversupply of food, MRCS took the initiative to distribute the food packets to the People’s Housing Projects (PPR) and flats nearby, to avoid wastage.
“MRCS, with the help of some NGOs, also registered 237 individuals who came for free meals daily. Only 77 of them are homeless while the other 160 people have a place to stay.
“They come for the free food to save some money, ” she said after meeting with Insane Kasih volunteers who gave out free lunch in the area.
Zaiton urged NGOs and individuals to get in touch with the Johor Welfare Department (JKM) and MRCS, which have been tasked to coordinate and arrange the distribution slots.
The NGOs and individual donors, she added, should fill up a permission form via www.portalbencana.nadma.gov.my before distributing the items as part of the aid distribution standard operating procedures set by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma).
She said the state government, through JKM, helped to place some of the needy individuals at the government’s Anjung Singgah shelter in Taman Nong Chik to help them find jobs and get out of their current situation.
“However, they chose to leave the shelter after a day or two, ” she said.
NGOs and individual donors planning to make distributions to the homeless and jobless can get in touch with JKM at 012-799 9067 and MRCS at 018-768 5034.