PETALING JAYA: Even with funds and initiatives to help the people cope with the rising cost of living, the spectre of the white flag was raised.
Suriana Welfare Society chairman Dr James Nayagam said these efforts must be robust enough to ensure that there will never be another occasion where the people in the country need to “wave white flags” as a desperate plea for help.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many families raised white flags to indicate that they needed basic items such as food.
“It is commendable that in this Budget, there is aid such as the allocation of RM100mil to ensure the Jualan Rahmah initiative is rolled out to all 222 parliamentary constituencies.
“Any programme involving the sale of cheaper food or items is highly popular among the B40 and the M40 communities.
“I welcome such programmes as they are not handouts but beneficial to all.
“Recognising the needs of the poor is important, and we can see that in this Budget.
“Ultimately, both the public and the government must work towards achieving a better standard of living for all,” he said.
Datin PH Wong, a child activist, said any aid centred on the poor should be given directly to them instead of being routed through agencies.
“We need more programmes that will enable the recipient to not have to go through a long process to obtain aid such as food baskets, discounted items or ewallet assistance,” she said.
The government will roll out food baskets and vouchers for staple items worth RM600 for Rahmah cash aid recipients registered under the e-Kasih system.
There will also be the People’s Income Initiative (IPR) to benefit the poor, with RM750mil allocated to it.
The government has allocated RM225mil, from RM200mil, to expand the distribution of basic necessities to 25 new locations such as Paloh (Johor), Passin (Sarawak), Pasir Raja (Terengganu) and Kuala Krai (Kelantan).
Under the Belia Rahmah e-Tunai initiative, an amount between RM200 and RM400 will be given to youth aged 18 to 20 through ewallet credits.
The B40 group with a household income of less than RM2,500 are eligible for Rahmah cash aid of up to RM2,500 depending on the number of children.