Bandar Kuching MP calls for second batch of food aid for B40

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Apr 27: Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii urges both Federal and Sarawak governments to provide second batch of food aid to the B40 group who are in dire strait due to the extension of Movement Control Order (MCO).

“With the extension, more and more of the B40, many of whom do not have proper jobs or are daily paid have no opportunity to work and get an income to try to put food on the table for themselves and their families.

“They have little or no savings to sustain their families through these tough times and have been relying on aids from the government, NGOs and even political parties.

“That is why I urge the Federal and State government to reconsider distributing a second batch of food aid to the needy especially in view that there is no guarantee that the MCO would not be further extended after May 12,” said Dr Yii in a statement today.

Dr Yii pointed out that there is another category of “new poor” who were missed out by the authorities when distributing aid.

“Another category or group of people who often get missed out is what I term the ‘new poor’. Due to the far-reaching economic effects of the virus, more and more people have started to lose their livelihood and savings. Some are losing a huge chunk of their income or even their jobs.

“Before this, they earn quite an adequate income, thus it does not qualify them to be registered under the welfare database and welfare aid,” Dr Yii noted.

He pointed out that many of the new poor are not covered under the Employment Insurance System (EIS) or other social security plans and they will be having no income.

“The Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) is qualified for them but it is insufficient for them to sustain through the MCO.

“By addressing their issue, it also gives us an opportunity to collect better data on such group of people especially those involved in the informal industry or gig economy, and then plan ahead for a better social security net for them all.”

Meanwhile, he quoted the predication of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) which stated that Malaysia may suffer about 2.4 million loss of jobs due to the impact of the Covid-19.

“This is about 13 to 14 per cent of the total workforce. On top of that, tens of thousands who work in Singapore, or even other parts of the world may lose their jobs and eventually return to Malaysia,” said Dr Yii.

He believed that that is why the government must not turn a blind eye on these group of people where there should be a proper blueprint for the best ‘exit plan’ as the nation is trying to contain the spread of Covid-19 while at the same time, revive the economy and rebuild Malaysia — DayakDaily