Kedup rep rebuts claims of lopsided food aid distribution

Martin (left) and Brolin.

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, April 16: Kedup assemblyman Martin Ben challenges Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth (DAPSY) Serian chief Brolin Nicholsion to audit the accounts of governmental food aid for the needy in Kedup constituency.

Martin explained that each constituency is only given RM200,000 and food distribution is done in different phases.

He said Kedup has 5,269 households, out of which 3,702 households have less than RM1,200 income per month and 1,567 households have an income between RM1,201 to RM4,000.

In terms of geographical distribution, 3,174 households are in Serian District, while the rest of 2,095 in Tebedu District, he clarified.

“These lists (of names) are all coming from Ketua Kampung (village heads), Tuai Rumah (longhouse chiefs) and Kapitan (community leaders).

“As you know all DUN (constituencies) are allocated RM200,000. Kedup also received 300 food baskets through the Welfare Department,” Martin told DayakDaily.

Martin also pointed out that the food items in every phase of delivery are generally agreed to by most village heads and longhouse chiefs.

He said, for Phase 1, food rations were only given out to the hardcore poor. Presently, food distribution which is in Phase 2 will include those who are needy but still better off that the hardcore poor.

Martin also supplied DayakDaily with a photo of food items which were distributed to each household during Phase 1 which included a packet of rice, two packets of crackers, two trays of eggs, two packets of sugar and one packet of cooking oil.

Photo showing food items which according to Martin were distributed in Kedup during Phase 1. Photo supplied by Martin Ben.

For Phase 2, he said the food items included two packets of sugar, two packets of cream crackers, one packet of cooking oil, a can of sardines, one packet of coffee powder, 10 packets of instant noodles and one packet of salt.

“Therefore, it is irresponsible to say that we alienate certain households or certain villages.

“For the value of items, you do the maths. They are definitely not worth RM100. Logistics cost is not factored in yet.

“DAP Youth Serian are most welcome to seek clarifications from the Resident Office (Secretariate for Divisional Disaster Committee) or audit us rather than making baseless accusations,” said Martin.

He was responding to a statement from Brolin Nicholsion today highlighting complaints from residents in a village in Kedup where 143 families did not receive any food assistance during this MCO period.

Brolin said a complaint was lodged with the Serian Resident Office last week as well as an assistant to an assemblyman and he was informed that food would arrive this week.

As promised, the food aid arrived this week.

“Unfortunately, the food assistance received by the villagers was not only as expected, but whatever received is not suitable for a situation like now,” Brolin asserted, producong a photo of food consisting of two packets of sugar, two packets of cream crackers, one packet of cooking oil, a can of sardines, 10 packets of instant noodles and one packet of salt.

Photo showing food items which accordin to DAPSY Serian were received by villagers in Kedup. Photo supplied by Brolin Nicholsion

Brolin claimed the food value did not even exceed RM30 and every family was supposed to receive RM100 worth of food.

“I would like the Welfare Department to investigate this matter as food aid at this time should not be politicised whereby only certain people receive the assistance.

“The Welfare Department and the government should investigate into this matter to ensure no abuse or misappropriation of funds and none of the residents are left out,” Brolin urged. — DayakDaily