KOTA KINABALU: The state government needs to act quickly to ensure that people living in enhanced movement control order areas get the necessary food aid without delay, says Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.
"Don't make life any more difficult for those staying in areas placed under the enhanced MCO," said the former chief minister.
Shafie said the residents there have been facing hardship for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and should not be further burdened with restrictions.
"The Gabungan Rakyat Sabah government keeps announcing food baskets are being prepared and millions of ringgit allocated for food aid but on the ground, the people are complaining that they have not even seen a grain of rice," the opposition Parti Warisan Sabah president said.
He said the authorities could extend opening hours for food outlets or takeaways but as long as the people were barred from getting access to shops and food, then it was as good as starving them.
"We cannot avoid enforcing the enhanced MCO but the people in these affected areas must get food.
"The state government must show compassion. This is the fasting month," he added.
Earlier last week, residents in Tawau's Kg Muhibbah staged a protest over the movement control order.
They also complained that food baskets did not reach them despite the local council saying that more than 8,500 baskets were distributed to over 7,000 residents in Tawau, which is a Covid-19 hotspot.
Shafie said the demonstration in the village there was a "clear signal" that the people were angry and frustrated.
"They don't get food aid and at the same time, cannot go out to buy food.
"I have also heard complaints that opposition areas are deprived of food aid. This should not happen as government funds are involved and should be distributed fairly," he said.
"Stop playing politics. Do what you're supposed to do as the government of the day," Shafie added.