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KUCHING, Feb 24: The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) views as “serious and malicious” the allegation that the Sarawak government had issued an instruction to all district offices to reject the welfare programme by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, said Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.
The allegation was made by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen and it was published in The Borneo Post titled ‘Chong accuses state district offices of refusing to help register Bantuan Sara Hidup recipients’ and in Utusan Borneo online dated Feb 23 titled ‘PH Sarawak kesal agensi kerajaan enggan bantu rakyat urus BHS’.
“Chong’s allegation that the Sarawak government had issued an instruction to all district offices to reject the welfare programme by PH government is baseless.
“This accusation smacks of a hidden political agenda with intent merely to discredit the state government and its officers. Being a deputy minister, it is shameful that he did not bother to check the facts and the actual situation on the ground before giving such a malicious accusation against the state government.
“His unfounded accusation implied that Chong was willing to say anything non-factual just for the sake of his own political mileage,” Uggah said in a statement today.
He pointed out that the BSH was implemented differently from the former BR1M, where the district offices were directly involved. BSH, on the other hand, is handled by the Federal Treasury and its agencies, with minimal involvement of district offices.
This is neither due to an instruction from the state government nor the reluctance nor the laziness of the district offices to assist.
“The deputy minister must be made aware of the fact that on the contrary, the CMO has issued an instruction to 11 Residents, 29 District Officers and seven Sub-District Offices to assist the Federal Treasury in the distribution of vouchers and RM300 cash payment for recipients who do not have bank accounts.
“This instruction was made via its letter dated Feb 1, 2019, Reference No. (38) JKM/up/900-2/3/7 BTW. Therefore, there is no such thing that the state government had given the instruction to district offices not to assist with the BSH as alleged by Chong,” Uggah said.
He added that the assistance and cooperation of the district offices had greatly facilitated the cash payment of BSH to the rural recipients.
The district offices were instructed to provide the venue, the necessary manpower before and during the event, provide the necessary facilities such as seats and tables, notice boards and publicise the programme to prospective recipients.
The distribution of BSH vouchers to those without bank accounts was made from Feb 11 until March 7 in 31 locations across Sarawak. To date, 21 locations have been successfully covered.
Uggah added that the Federal Financial Office reaffirmed that the district offices had provided the necessary assistance and cooperation, without which the programme would not have been implemented smoothly.
In Sri Aman, seven District Office staff and five trainees were involved and assisted in the BSH programme from Feb 11-12.
A staff of the District Office was also involved on Feb 10 to assist in the preparations. The district officer was also on hand at the venue on Feb 12 to ensure that the programme went well.
“Furthermore, Chong’s unsubstantiated allegation reflects his ignorance of Bau and Lundu district office, as both offices were not classified as rural areas. Hence, BSH 2019 Welfare Programme was not carried out in Bau or Lundu.
“It is obvious that the deputy minister is not at all aware of how much the state government has assisted in this programme. He should have the decency to check his facts before coming out with the unsubstantiated allegations,” Uggah added.
He suggested Chong understand the process and procedure of the BSH programme so that the later would not be misguided in the future. — DayakDaily