‘Don’t give out food during MCO period’

Not the right time: Several people were spotted distributing boxes of food and bottled drinks to vagrants at the Goddess of Mercy Temple in George Town.

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has urged non-governmental organisations and Good Samaritans not to give out food directly to the public during the movement control order (MCO) period.

State Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said distribution of food aid should be done with discipline and in an organised manner.

“Giving out free food in public places will only encourage the vagrants to come out.

“If they really want to help, let’s work out something together, like sending the food to the homes of the needy, ” he said in response to groups of people spotted distributing boxes of food and bottled drinks to vagrants at the Goddess of Mercy Temple yesterday.

Phee said some 30 vagrants rounded up in Komtar on Friday had been placed at the Caring Society Complex where they would be given three meals daily.

“Many of them have families but choose not to return home due to various reasons.

“We have a capacity of 66 people at the centre.

“The vagrants can choose to go back to their homes or to the police lockup, ” Phee said.

Phee added that there were about 24,000 people in Penang, listed under the B40 group, who needed support for food.

“If they want a name list of targeted recipients, we can give it to them, ” said Phee.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said NGOs were not supposed to be moving about freely to deliver food as the people should stay at home under the MCO.

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