BAGS of ikan kembung weighing 1,200kg in total did not remain too long in chiller boxes as they were packed and distributed to Tasek Gelugor residents.
Each plastic bag containing more than a dozen fish were handed out to people, who had queued up for the free supply, as well as motorists passing by the Maahad Tahfiz As-Syafie school in Lubuk Meriam.
The fish were contributed by former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad with the aim to help ease the burden of those in need due to rising cost of living.
“There has been a shortage of chicken in the market and people are now resorting to eating fish, which is not affordable either.
“The lower-income groups have been severely impacted by the rising food prices.
“The fish worth around RM18,000 were purchased from nearby fishermen to help support their trade and distributed to people in need around the Tasek Gelugor area,” said Dzulkifli when met after he had given out bags of fish to locals.
Dzulkifli, who is also honorary adviser for Kelab Anak-Anak Pulau Pinang, said he would organise such programmes on a monthly basis if the community was benefiting from it.
When asked why he had chosen to distribute fish in Tasek Gelugor and if he would be contesting a seat in the upcoming general election, Dzulkifli replied that he was born and raised in the area so he understood the community’s needs.
“I was born in Kepala Batas and my father later moved to Tasek Gelugor where I grew up.
“I have been in touch with the community here.
“I will not reject the people of Tasek Gelugor if they want me to represent them but such charity events will go on regardless,” he said.
Among the hundreds of people who received the fish handout was housewife Syarifah Omar, 57, from Lahar Yooi.
“There are four people in my household, including my 10-month-old grandson.
“We spend a lot of money on milk and diapers.
“With prices of raw items in the market now increasing, this will help lighten our burden.
“I can either deep-fry or prepare laksa with the fish,” she said.
Retired teacher Azman Hashim, 63, who also received the donation, was thankful as it would help address the needs of low-income families.
“Although many families here receive aid from the government, it is never sufficient to support an entire family.
“In these difficult times when cost of living keeps increasing, such contributions are of big help.
“Hopefully, more targeted support for low-income families will come through,” he said.