Food aid matters not the place to play politics — Fatimah

Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah

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KUCHING, April 6: A senior minister has rubbished opposition claims that the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was playing politics with the government food aid during the movement control order (MCO).

Refuting claims made by Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen in Sarawak Report dated April 5, titled “MONSTROUS! – How Sarawak’s GPS Have Played Politics With Hunger”, Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said it was baseless.

“As the deputy chairperson of the Food Supply Chain sub-committee, I wish to reiterate the strategies and approaches that our committee has decided in ensuring that the essential food supply provided by the state government to the needy achieve its objective.

“The food supply assistance to the people of Sarawak is managed centrally by the divisional or district disaster committee (DDC) comprising of the residents, district officers, Sarawak Welfare Department and other related government agencies, as well as the elected representative service centres and relevant non-governmental organisations (NGO),” she explained.

She said that all fundings are channelled to and managed by the DDC. All payments to the relevant food suppliers for the purchase of food will be made by the DDC.

The list of recipients, food items, purchases and distribution of food supply were coordinated by the DDC through collaboration with elected representatives service centres and other government agencies such as the Welfare Department, the armed forces, People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) and the relevant NGOs.

She added that all name list from the various sources were submitted to the committee for central coordination and verification.

“As of today, all 82 constituencies have started delivery of food essentials. Daily monitoring is being done by our Food Supply Chain sub-committee to ensure that challenges and problems faced by each DDC, in terms of the supply of food items, transportation and delivery to the various household, can be overcome without delay.

“For rural and remote areas such as Bario, Telang Usan, Baram, Lawas, Sri Aman dan Kapit, which are not reachable by road, the Sarawak government has enlisted helicopter services, which started yesterday and will continue until April 8, subject to weather conditions,” she said.

Fatimah appealed to the public to stay calm, patient and have confidence in the state government in handling the challenges of Covid-19.

“Now is the time for us to concentrate all our efforts and resources towards containing the spread of Covid-19.

“We should give our priority to treat the sick, provide support to their family, render relevant assistance to the frontliners and also help those who are directly impacted by the MCO,” she said. — DayakDaily