Towards herd immunity and regaining our treasured freedom by year-end


WEED out those ugly people who are taking advantage of the present tough time to “sweep clean” food banks put up for those in need to get essential food items.

Action should be taken against these irresponsible, selfish members of the public who only leave the poor and needy in despair and frustration.

Viewing CCTV footage which have gone viral on Facebook of some bagging almost everything at food banks, leaving nothing behind, only makes your blood boil.

While countless kind-hearted Malaysians have come forward to help those in financial despair, there was this video of four people in a car, caught snatching everything from a food bank.

Then there was another video of a food bank emptied within minutes when a bunch of people rushed to snatch the food, some taking more than what they obviously needed.

Thanks to the government’s proactive responses to this health crisis, the Food Basket Programme and another new initiative, Bakul Prihatin Negara, will see essential food items sent out to the vulnerable and needy in due course, without them having to go to food banks.

As it is, Members of Parliament from both sides of the divide have started distributing food items under the RM300,000 allocated to each MP for food basket programmes.

In terms of extending help to the rakyat, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has said he would take the attitude of not considering any political affiliations, hence the food aid for each and every lawmaker to to help the vulnerable in their respective constituencies.

The Food Basket Programme, meanwhile, involving an initial fund of RM21mil, of which RM16mil was raised from private companies and RM5mil by the Prime Minister’s Department, will see some 420,000 food baskets comprising staple food to benefit 1.68 million people across the country.

The idea for the programme was mooted by Muhyiddin himself as a proactive response to help cushion the impact of Covid-19 faced by the people.

Each basket containing staples worth RM50 including rice, salt and sugar, flour, vermicelli, soy sauce, canned sardines, biscuits and coffee, is for target groups hard hit by the pandemic as they may have lost their jobs or cannot run their businesses any more.

Not including those under the food basket programme, the government has distributed 2.315 million food baskets involving an allocation of RM173.4mil to benefit 9.26 million people since the first phase of the food basket assistance programme was launched in March last year.

To ensure food aid reaches the needy without delay, they can apply by directly contacting Talian Kasih at 15999, or the nearest social welfare office.

The RM530bil stimulus packages, food aid, the Employees Provident Fund’s i-Lestari, i-SInar and i-Citra withdrawals, loan moratoriums and such are proof of the government’s comprehensive assistance and concerted efforts to support the domestic economy and protect the lives and livelihoods of people during the pandemic.

The government will continue to emphasise aid and assistance as it realises there are still many out there who are facing financial problems.

So, don’t easily fall for or get swayed by accusations that the government has failed in managing the pandemic in our country. Those opposing quarters out there will go on and on, ridiculing the government and the PM.

But at the speed the aid and assistance is given out, the rollout of the vaccination programme and others, it is only fair to say that the Perikatan government has done its very best for the people and the country thus far.

Its target to complete the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme across Malaysia before the end of this year must be supported at all costs amid hurdles and disruptions. One of its biggest challenges in the war against the pandemic is how to accelerate this programme and Perikatan has proven that it can do it, of course, with the cooperation and assistance of the people.

As government hospitals in both Kuala Lumpur and Selangor are overstretched, private hospitals have geared up to do more to alleviate the situation.

The vaccination rollout is right on track, with so far more than 14.8 million people getting jabbed, and the daily vaccination rate surpassing the target of 400,000 doses on a number of days.

Our heartfelt gratitude to our frontliners and volunteers who have made all this possible.

The number of cases is still high, no doubt, but together and with confidence, we can beat the pandemic. Although the vaccines are not the silver bullet to end it, they are definitely a game-changer in the war against Covid-19.

The end of this year will be particularly significant in achieving herd immunity and regaining our treasured freedom from pre-pandemic days.

MOHD AMIN MOHD SHAH

Shah Alam, Selangor

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