NGO left with no choice but to give away 100kg of frozen food

PETALING JAYA: An NGO gave away about 100kg of frozen foodstuff after the government announced they can no longer deliver food to the poor during the movement control order (MCO).

Kembara Kitchen, which received the foodstuff from a few restaurants, said they gave away frozen udon, man tao (steamed buns) and chicken fillets to their neighbours in Kota Kemuning.

They had previously distributed about a tonne of these items to the needy, but still have about seven to eight tonnes left in their chiller, said Kembara Kitchen co-founder William Cheah.

He said while they understood the government’s efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, they are not sure if the authorities have the logistics to handle and distribute aid to the needy during the MCO.

Kechara Soup Kitchen operations director Justin Cheah said they hoped the government would allow the NGOs to complement the authorities’ efforts.

“It would be a mammoth task for the government to do it by themselves. They need to work with the NGOs because we are already on the ground, ” he said.

Meanwhile, in George Town, the NGOs continue to distribute food to the needy despite the state government’s no distribution ruling.Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) president Mohideen Abdul Kader said there is no need to restrict food distribution to the poor or homeless as long as they do not create problems.

State welfare and caring society committee chairman Phee Boon Poh advises NGOs to carry out the food distribution with discipline.

Phee said giving away free food in public places would encourage the vagrants to come out and those who wanted to help should work with them to distribute the food during this period.

Penang Consumers Protection Association president Datuk Koris Atan said the poor can’t wait for proper planning by the government to distribute the food.

“The Welfare Department should have taken the lead in the food distribution, but do they have the resources to do so at this point? he asked.

Deputy Chief Minister ll Dr P. Ramasamy said preventing NGOs from distributing food is the wrong move.

In his Facebook posting, he said the NGOs had done an amazing task in this trying time to meet the shortcomings in terms of service by channelling help on behalf of government agencies.

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