KUCHING: The Sarawak government has allocated RM16.4mil to ensure sufficient food supply during the movement control order (MCO), says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan.
He said the allocation would be used to supply essential food items to target groups in the state, especially in rural and remote areas.
"We want to ensure there is food on the table for everybody. The target groups will be identified by divisional and district disaster management committees in cooperation with relevant government agencies, NGOs and elected representatives' service centres.
"In principle, we have agreed that the target groups include households in rural areas, the urban poor and those who have lost their jobs or income due to the MCO," he told a press conference after chairing a meeting of the food supply sub-committee here on Monday (March 30).
Tengah said the divisional and district disaster committees would also set up distribution centres in their respective areas to ensure that food distribution is coordinated smoothly and in compliance with the MCO.
He said the state government would work with the military and Fire and Rescue Department to deliver food by helicopter to remote areas such as Belaga, Baram, Batang Ai, Kapit, Ba'Kelalan and Long Semadoh.
"In Bario, for example, the food supply mainly comes from Miri. If we transport it by logging road, it will take a day or more. Efficiency in delivery is very important, so we will work with the military to send food by helicopter to the main distribution centre in Bario.
"Then the local community leaders will decide how to distribute it to the villagers," he said.
Tengah also said the state Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry was tasked to ensure that its 800 points of sales in rural areas were sufficiently stocked with food.
"In addition, the food prices must be controlled based on wholesale prices and these points of sales will be allowed to operate daily from 7am to 4pm," he said.
He added that the transporters delivering food supplies to the points of sales would be allowed to operate without restriction.
"In general the food supply is enough. There may be some disruption in terms of distribution, so this is what we want to enhance," he said.