PUTRAJAYA: The Social Welfare Department (JKM) will continue to be empowered via several initiatives to improve its service delivery to the rakyat, says Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Among the initiatives taken include the restructuring of the department comprising efforts to strengthen the delivery of assistance, staff coordination and improved distribution of duties.
The provision of special allowances to department staff serving in high-risk areas such as institutions for the elderly and the disabled were also among the initiatives, he said.
Other steps include the enactment of the Social Work Profession Bill to ensure the welfare of social workers is protected, including social welfare officers, so that they are recognised according to their expertise, he said.
Speaking at the department’s 75th anniversary celebration on Sunday night (April 11), Muhyiddin said the department was a major pillar in shaping the direction of social development in the country.
“JKM staff have shown a high commitment in shouldering their respective responsibilities in order to look after the welfare of all levels of society," he said.
He added that when the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, the department played an important role, especially in humanitarian and social welfare missions assisting the government's efforts to curb the spread of the virus despite facing various constraints.
This included the distribution of food baskets during the implementation of the movement control order, he said.
Apart from that, the department is also directly involved in the management of welfare aspects at Covid-19 quarantine centres throughout the country.
As an additional initiative to help those affected by the pandemic, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry has also been actively running the Kembara Prihatin Negara programme since November last year.
Through the programme, he said, various forms of assistance were provided, including daily needs and social support to ease the people’s burden.
He said the assistance channelled through the programme was the result of strong support and contributions from the corporate sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the participation of the local community.
At the ceremony, Muhyiddin also presented the National Jacket Hero Icon award to two department officers, Tuah Sajali and Dayang Rugayah Awang Besar for their services and contributions, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Also present at the ceremony were Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun and her deputy Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff.