GEORGE TOWN: A Good Samaritan Bill to protect contributors of the government initiated Food Bank programme will be tabled at the upcoming parliamentary meeting.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the Bill would be tabled by the end of the year.
"This is to protect the contributors and receivers of the initiative.
“For example, hoteliers may fear that if the food they contribute affects the recipient, they may be sued.
“We would like to create a law to protect them,” she said in her speech during the launching of the Food Bank Malaysia Foundation and Contributors Appreciation dinner held at Hotel Equatorial Penang in Bayan Lepas on Friday (Sept 20).
Wan Azizah also said that 70% to 80% of 20 university students nationwide come from B40 (bottom 40% socio-economic) families.
“The Food Bank Siswa has been initiated at 16 universities to benefit some 3,820 students,” she added.
Domestic Trade and Consumers Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution during a press conference after the event said that the Good Samaritan law would attract more contributors.
"We believe the contributors will increase by 20% with this law as it would make them feel protected in case there is a complaint or lawsuit.
"The law is drafted based on best practices from other countries that carry out similar initiatives," he said.
Saifuddin said that the new law will enable the programme to absorb any risk and liabilities faced by contributors.
On future plans for the Food Bank programme next year, he said it will be expanded further to 123 institutions including polytechnics and private universities in the country.
"We also plan to ‘fast track’ the food supply directly to the recipients rather than get it collected at a hub first as how is done currently.
"So far, we have started a pilot project to be carried out in the Klang Valley.
"To enhance the effectiveness of the programme, we hope to come up with a Virtual Food Bank to connect the contributors to the recipients directly," he said.
Also present at the event was Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow.
Primer Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the Food Bank Malaysia in December last year aimed at reducing the cost of living for local consumers, especially those in the B40 group.
Since it was launched, 430 supermarket branches have agreed to contribute to the programme.
As of August this year, 311,189 households have benefited from the programme.
The programme has also been expanded to public universities, known as the Food Bank Siswa.