Most hardcore poor are from Sabah and Sarawak

Shopping for less: Ahmad (left) helping an elderly woman unload her shopping cart filled with essential items that are listed on Sara during his visit to GS Mart Pulai Sebatang, Pontian.

PONTIAN: Sabah and Sarawak have the highest number of recipients for the government’s new food aid programme for the hardcore poor, says Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.

In Peninsular Malaysia, the most number of families eligible for the programme, called Sumbangan Asas Rahmah (Sara), are in Kedah and Kelantan, said the Deputy Finance Minister.

Out of the 220,000 hardcore poor families in the e-Kasih database, about 124,000 are in the peninsula while the rest, 96,000, are in Sabah and Sarawak.

Of the 124,000 families in the peninsula, about 18% or 41,000 are in Kelantan and Kedah, said Ahmad, adding that the administration had started distributing the aid from July 17.

“Sara is in addition to the Sumbangan Tunai Rahmah (STR) initiative where cash aid is channelled to hardcore poor families who make less than RM1,169 a month,” Ahmad told reporters after visiting aid recipients from Johor at GS Mart Pulai Sebatang here yesterday.

“Sara is a food aid programme where recipients receive RM100 worth of essential items every month from July to December this year,” he said.

Based on the e-Kasih database, Kedah has 21,463 recipients, followed by Kelantan with 20,796 individuals.

The number of recipients in other peninsula states are 16,010 in Perak, Selangor (11,589), Terengganu (11,248), Penang (8,282), Pahang (8,026), Johor (7,917), Perlis (6,758), Negri Sembilan (5,952), Kuala Lumpur (3,561), Melaka (2,508) and Putrajaya (12).

“The recipients will be given RM600 in aid that will be distributed at a rate of RM100 a month from July to December for those in Peninsular Malaysia.

“While for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, the aid will be credited in a lump sum to their Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) accounts,” said Ahmad.

For Peninsular Malaysia recipients, the aid will be channelled via MyKad, which will also be used to open an account at the 600 participating supermarkets, grocery shops and retail outlets.

Sara was announced on July 17 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who said that RM130mil had been allocated under the Payung Rahmah initiative to help underprivileged groups struggling with the high cost of living.

Recipients in Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan started receiving the aid on July 17, while those in Johor, Melaka, Perak, Pahang and Perlis got theirs from July 31.

Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan started receiving the aid on Aug 7.

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