Fatimah: Food Supply Committee starts delivering food to opposition held-areas starting today

Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah

KUCHING, Apr 8: The Food Supply Committee has started delivering food ration to opposition-held areas such as Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa and Batu Lintang in stages starting today (April 8).

Its Deputy Chairman Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah said this is contrary to what was claimed by Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen on April 7.

“As of Apr 8, 2020, the DDC (Divisional/District Disaster Committee) of Kuching, with assistance from the Sarawak Welfare Department, the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Volunteers Department of Malaysia (RELA) and other related government agencies, the ADUN (state assemblymen) and MP Service Centers, and the relevant NGOs, has started delivery of food to the areas of Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, and Batu Lintang, which is done in stages, with compliance with the ruling of MCO (movement control order).

“This is contrary to the allegation by YB Chong that the constituencies under the opposition are been deprived and discriminated against, from this food assistance. As it was clearly spelt out by the Chairman of our Food Supply Chain Sub-Committee, YB Datuk Amar Haji Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, Deputy Chief Minister, the objective of this provision of essential food supply from the government, is to make sure that whoever is entitled in all 82 constituencies, irrespective whether the areas is under the GPS or Opposition, will be provided with food assistance,” Fatimah said in a press statement today.

Chong had said yesterday that since MCO was enforced on Mar 18, his party has sent all the records of the poor families who are entitled to receive the Bantuan Sarawak Hidup (BSH) to the Welfare Department.

“This is a long 20 days after the imposition of the MCO. Is it sheer inefficiency on the part of GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government or element of politicking and discrimination against the areas held by the opposition,” claimed Chong.

In response, Fatimah clarified that the Food Supply Chain Sub-Committee was set up on Mar 26, 2020 and the first meeting was held on Mar 27.

“The budget for the supply of food was announced by the Chief Minister on Mar 29, 2020. Following that approval, our machineries on the ground had started operation since then, and as of today, all constituencies have started or some even have completed delivery of food supply to the target groups.

“The allegation by YB Chong on the delay of this food supply for 20 days after the imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO), is not correct.

“In fact, it only took us less than a week to initiate this food assistance to those in need in Sarawak,” said Fatimah who is also Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development.

She reiterated that the Food Supply Chain Sub-Committee, made their decisions and recommendations, based on the people’s needs regardless of their political affiliations.

“It is the objective of this sub-committee to ensure that the needy in Sarawak – the households in the rural and remote areas, the urban poor and those without income due to the MCO – are supplied with essential food assistance during the MCO period.

“Thus, it is not right for YB Chong to accuse that the GPS government has politicised the supply of essential food items to the people in Sarawak. 

She further pointed out that as decided by the Committee, the modus operandi for the food essential supply (identification of target groups, purchase, distribution and transportation), is centrally coordinated and managed by the DDC, in collaboration with the Sarawak Welfare Department, the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Royal Malaysian Air Force (TUDM), Volunteers Department of Malaysia (RELA) and other related government agencies, the ADUN/MP Service Centres, and the relevant NGOs.

The daily operation undertaken by the various DDC in Sarawak, she said, is monitored closely by the Sub-Committee, to ensure that all problems are discussed and solved instantaneously. 

“The name list submitted by YB Chong Chieng Jen, has been received and submitted to the DDC, and verification has been done accordingly, to ensure central coordination, proper implementation, and to avoid duplication of target groups.

“As a matter of fact, the names submitted by YB Chong comprises of individuals not only from Padungan, Pending, Kota Sentosa, and Batu Lintang, but also beyond these four constituencies,” added Fatimah.— DayakDaily