Direct food basket aid delivery for the needy during tough times


VARIOUS forms of aid and assistance, ranging from distribution of essential goods, controlling the prices of petrol and cooking oil as well as electricity bill discounts and free Internet data under the Pakej Perlindungan Rakyat dan Pemulihan Ekonomi (Pemulih) have been provided by the government.

Without doubt, all these will help ease the struggles of many Malaysians and the business community in more ways than one.

The Pemulih package totaling RM150bil is a continuation of the seven assistance and economic stimulus packages amounting to RM380bil implemented by the government since Covid-19 struck early last year.

Just days after announcing Pemulih, the Perikatan Nasional-led government started distributing RM300, 000 to each MP from both sides of the divide to ensure its existing Food Basket programme could reach out to those in need without hassle and delay.

The delivery process, therefore, has been expedited and faster, with no bureaucracy involved unlike if it has to go through certain parties or ministries.

Now that the allocations have been given, MPs, hopefully, will not waste their time to go to the ground, check on those in need and proactively distribute the food baskets accordingly.

Reaching out to those who have, among others, run out of essential food items or those who have put up the white flag are nothing but good gestures of signs of trust and hope.

Stop giving excuses that the allocations are not enough to reach all needy families like what is being claimed by DAP’s Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh.

She also wryly stated the government’s 13-item list did not address nutritional needs and did not provide flexibility to meet the different needs of different families. And she also claimed MPs with smaller population areas would be at an advantage compared to MPs of bigger constituencies such as Damansara and Bangi.

What on earth is she blabbering about? What’s this flexibility to meet the different needs of different families all about? Hello, we are in this Covid-19-induced time and out there, many are affected and here you are wasting away about meeting the different needs of different families!

If you are really sincere, then by all means, do it on your own free will, your own good gesture. Fork out your own pocket money, without having to tell the whole world that the allocation is insufficient!

To me, her expression of disappointment and annoyance reflects her insincerity and phony manner. About that insufficiency - is she telling us that each and every resident in her constituency is in dire need of aid, or basic food items?

If, indeed, so, what has she been doing all this while since becoming the MP?

If the allocation isn’t enough like what she has claimed, as a responsible and mature representative, I believe she can just engage and work closely together with non-governmental organisations, even those mosque committees, philanthropists and many good Samaritans for that matter, to help the needy.

In the area where I reside in Hulu Kelang, Selangor, where the National Zoo is located (volunteers, NGOs, Perhilitan and other bodies have been supporting in the upkeep of animals in the zoo in their every little way possible amid this difficult time), the NGOs and the managements of places of worship have been giving away free food items and other forms of donations in cash and kind to those in need for as long as I can remember.

What I am trying to say here is that this YB can easily engage those bodies and individuals to help her reach out to those in need in her area.

And the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat under the purview of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, Pusat Agihan Zakat Baitulmal, churches and others - you just name it.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun has reminded Malaysians whose food supply has been affected by the pandemic to contact their respective parliamentary service centres.

The list of MPs’ service centres is out there on social media for everyone to know.

So, YB Hannah, it’s just a matter of engaging these people and those bodies. They are there, I believe, to complement your people-friendly efforts. So, stop making wild allegations or giving further excuses.

Articulate your requisite means to express the will of the people and build that public trust by conducting your work and responsibility to the best of your ability, according to high standards of ethics.

The code of ethics of MPs among others is to be able to adapt to the work/changing environment. So, please act accordingly and do the needful - talk less, do more.

We are still in the midst of a pandemic-induced period, YB, and you should act and work in solidarity with others. I believe this is what you and other MPs have been doing all this while but you just want to kick up a fuss simply because you, like other Opposition members, will never stop at finding faults with the present government. Let’s not waste time, YB, but move on and play your part.

This expansion of food basket aid to all MPs irrespective of their political allegiances as our prime minister has said would ensure a more inclusive and effective implementation to target groups nationwide, including Orang Asli.

Clearly, this shows that when it concerns the public, politics can nowhere come near him as he wants those affected to be helped in any way possible without delay.

Hopefully, the MPs, especially Opposition members, will reciprocate and realise the importance of delivering such aid to the needy without delay and set aside political differences. Since the MCO was implemented in March last year, the government, through the relevant ministries and agencies, has distributed more than 1.5 million food baskets, benefitting more than six million households.

Through this timely food basket aid programme, hopefully MPs can endear themselves to the people, gaining their trust and confidence that they are not alone in facing financial and emotional struggles in the ongoing war against the pandemic. We are all in this together, and together, we must do.

SHARIFFUDIN NASIR

Taman Melawati, Selangor

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Food Basket , Programme , Aid , Pemulih

   

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