PUTRAJAYA: The national food bank initiative has been extended to university campuses in an effort to help students from poor families.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic) said surplus food from supermarkets which is still safe for consumption will be distributed to students at 20 public universities.
“I was made aware of the issue of university students having to starve and eat less, which had been reported in the press.
“This issue has been highlighted and discussed in Cabinet. I then instructed the ministry to extend the Foodbank Malaysia programme to public universities immediately,” said Saifuddin at a press conference at the Finance Ministry here.
At the event, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced the allocation of RM3mil for the purpose of the programme.
The Foodbank Malaysia initiative started at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) on Feb 26 and has been active at Universiti Malaya (UM) since March 7.
On April 22, the programme will roll out at Universiti Putra Malaysia, UiTM Pulau Pinang, Universiti Malaysia Pahang, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Universiti Utara Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sabah and other universities will follow after.
Saifuddin said the programme will be managed by student associations, adding that they will help identify eligible students as well as prepare and distribute the food.
“The ministry will supply the food for the programme, but the student groups will be in charge of the food distribution.
“Some universities have hospitality management courses which have kitchen facilities. These will be utilised to prepare the food that will be distributed,” said Saifuddin.
Saifuddin added that a bill to regulate the food bank initiative will be tabled in Parliament by the end of the year.
Launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in December last year, the Foodbank Malaysia programme was created to help the poor as well as solve food wastage.
About 430 supermarket outlets nationwide have given their commitment to contribute surplus food for the programme.