Chong claims discrimination as Dr Sim discloses RM1 mln allocation for food aid

Chong Chieng Jen

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KUCHING, Apr 29: With reference to a circular issued by Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen alleges that SUPP president Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian had been given total charge of RM1,000,000 food aid allocation.

In a press statement today, Chong said that after almost a month, Dr Sim finally admitted today to the existence of the circular issued by the Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Ministry dated Apr 3, 2020.

“However, in his today’s statement, he did not mention the second final paragraph of the letter to the press, namely:

‘Bersama-sama ini disertakan lampiran menunjukkan peruntukan bagi setiap JBB (Jabatan Bencana Bahagian), dan senarai nama Ahli Yang Berhormat DUN termasuk konstituensi dan peruntukan yang layak diterima oleh setiap Kawasan DUN dalam satu-satu bahagian.’

“In the lampiran attached to the letter, it was listed that Dr Sim shall have the charge of a total of RM1,000,000 allocation for the constituencies of Batu Kawah, Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa,” said Chong in response to Dr Sim’s latest statement today.

Referring to the same circular, Chong said that “Dr Sim’s Service Center is to manage all the purchase of food, verify the bills of purchase and then forward the same to the JBB for payment. His Service Centre can also pay in advance and claim reimbursement from the JBB.”

He cited parts of the circular which stated that: ‘Pusat Khidmat ADUN akan mengurus semua pembelian barang makanan dan mengesahkan bil-bil pembelian, seterusnya mengemukakan pemohonan kepada JBB untuk pembayaran.

‘Sekiranya Pusat Khidmat telah membuat pembayaran bagi pembelian bekalan makanan, tuntutan balik boleh dibuat kepada JBB dengan disertakan bil-bil pembelian yang telah disahkan.’

“It is clear that the allocation which is supposed to be for Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa (together with that of Batu Kawah, a total sum of RM1,000,000), all to be at his service centre’s disposal to decide what food to buy and who to receive.

“The question is, why was he in charge of DUN areas of which he is not the elected representative? Is that not discrimination against the opposition ADUNs (state elected representatives) and the people in the opposition-held areas? Is that politicking on the part of GPS government using the rakyat’s money at such emergency time?” Chong said.

Chong claimed that while GPS leaders had been calling for “working together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic”, behind the scenes, he alleged that they were actually practising discrimination, punishing the people for voting for the opposition.

“It is no wonder that I have received many complaints from the people from the Kota Sentosa area that they did not receive any food aids from the Welfare Department.

“Notwithstanding the said discrimination, DAP, with our limited resources, will still try to help the poor and those in need to tide over this MCO period,” said Chong.

Dr Sim had earlier today issued a press statement alleging that three Facebook postings made by Chong (Apr 15 and Apr 18) and his special assistant Michael Kong Feng Nian (Apr 18) with regards to food aid allocation during MCO were “incorrect, false and done in bad faith”.

Calling it an irresponsible act, Dr Sim said that Chong and Kong’s statements were made with bad intentions to damage his reputation and character.

Citing the chronology, Dr Sim pointed out that on Apr 3, an official letter issued by the Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah stated that the Sarawak government had replaced the prior instructions given in an initial letter dated Apr 2.

“The Sarawak government has made it very clear that all allocation of funds will be channelled to divisional or district disaster management committee (DDMC) and are not being channelled to the respective state assemblyman or member of parliament’s service centres,” he asserted.—DayakDaily