Charities also hit hard by price hikes

Helping hand: Families in need of assistance picking up basic necessities at the free market event in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: The increase in the price of essentials and other goods has not only affected the lives of the public but also non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide aid to those in need.

Free market Johor coordinator Zaharah Raishan Mohd Yassin said she had to cut down the number of goods she provided to the underprivileged by about 25% to 30% due to the hike in the price of goods.

“Every three or four months, our NGO will organise an event where we provide basic needs such as flour, chicken, vegetables, dry food and cooking oil to the B40 (low-income) group for free.

“However, with the increase in the price of goods, we can no longer provide the same amount of such items to those in need,” she told The Star.

She added that the list of essential goods the NGO could provide was shorter these days.

“We can no longer get supplies of chicken, eggs and flour, and even if we could, the prices are too expensive for us to afford,” Zaharah Raishan said.

Yayasan Suria Johor Baru founder and secretary James Ho said his NGO had been getting more calls for help from the public.

“We can see that the increasing cost of living has made it more difficult for people to get by. Lately, we have been getting more calls from the public for basic goods.

“We are able to attend to these calls at the moment. However, if the situation persists, we may have to reduce the amount of food we provide to these families,” he added.

He said at least 40 families were receiving about RM150 worth of basic needs from his NGO on a monthly basis.

“This does not include other one-off assistance we provide to those in need, including those who call us for help,” he said.

Insane Kasih (I-Kasih) head Zuraini Tahir said that NGOs were also receiving fewer donations, both in cash and in kind, from the public as many were also affected by the price hike.

“With fewer donations, we have no choice but to cut down the amount of aid to be distributed to those in need. We have reduced such assistance significantly, by about 60% to 70%,” he added.

Pusat Kebajikan Calvary volunteer Boey Wong Wah said that despite receiving fewer donations, the NGO was able to continue providing aid to some 600 people, including those in the 27 charity homes under its care.

“We have been receiving fewer donations lately and as such, we need to be very mindful in our spending to ensure that we can still help as many people as possible.

“For now, we are still able to cope with the situation and we are very grateful to those who continue to support (us) to provide relief to the underprivileged,” he said.

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