KUALA LUMPUR: Some 21 public universities involving 6,870 students have benefited from the Food Bank Siswa Programme (PFBS) as of November this year, says Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen.
He said the initiative was aimed at helping students from the bottom 40% (B40) low-income group, so they can be more focused on their studies.
"As of November this year, the programme has benefited 21 public universities involving 6,870 students," he told Muslimin Yahya (PH-Sungai-Besar) during Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday (Nov 27).
Muslimin had asked the ministry to reveal whether the food bank initiative had been successful in helping students from the lower income group.
According to Chong, the food bank initiative was among the various initiatives under the National Cost of Living Action Council (Naccol) chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister on Feb 15 this year.
"The PFBS is following cooperation between donors and higher learning institutions via two concepts, which is food pantry and central kitchen," he said.
Chong added that the government had tabled and passed the Food Donors Protection Bill 2019 and would be brought to the Dewan Negara within this session.
"The law is aimed at giving protection to food donors under the food bank initiatives.
"We also discussed with supermarkets under the purview of the ministry to implement and encourage them to donate food.
"The ministry's involvement does not incur any cost, as it only goes through administrative action to expand efforts to donate food to those who need it," he said.