By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Apr 9: Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan has urged those who have information about any target groups which require food aid to contact the respective divisional or district disaster management committee (DDMC).
Awang Tengah who is food supply chain sub-committee chairman stressed that his job was to ensure that there is food for everyone and that no politics was involved.
“It is the duty of DDMC to identify these target groups and to assist them. Everyone who deserves to be assisted will be assisted, regardless of race, religion or political leanings.
“I have made this very clear in the very first (food supply chain sub-committee) meeting I chaired on March 27,” he said in a statement.
Awang Tengah, who is Bukit Sari assemblyman, explained that due to the geographical condition in Sarawak, the distribution of the food aid to the target groups has encountered many challenges.
Nonetheless, Awang Tengah pointed out that the food supply chain sub-committee has intended to send out the food aid as soon as possible to the respective constituencies.
Awang Tengah was rebutting allegations by certain quarters that the distribution of food aid by the state government was slow and certain constituencies were neglected.
He disclosed that as of April 8, 30 constituencies – mostly in the rural areas – have received food items sent by the armed forces personnel.
Among those include Ba Kelalan, Bukit Sari, Gedong, Mulu, Telang Usan, Bukit Kota, Marudi, Murum, Lambir, Bekenu, Jepak, Kemena, Balingian, Dalat, Sebuyau, Asajaya, Sadong Jaya, Simunjan, Krian, Meradong and so on.
He said that food supply in rural areas is a problem because they are not able to buy food from the towns for their families, whereas in the urban areas there are many supermarkets operating to serving their needs.
However, Awang Tengah noted that there are also many urban poor and those who have lost their jobs because of movement control order (MCO), who require government assistance.
Awang Tengah, who is International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development, revealed that he had instructed the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) to ensure there was sufficient food supply for Sarawak, particularly the essential items such as rice, sugar, cooking oil and flour to last for at least three months.
Following feedback, he stated that KPDNHEP told him that 800 points of sales (POS) in the rural areas have been resupplied with the essential food items.
Additionally, he said the food supply chain sub-committee had agreed the POS in the rural areas are allowed to operate between 7 am to 4 pm daily.
Therefore, he noted that there was no need for those living in rural areas to go into panic buying or hoard food items.—DayakDaily