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BETONG, May 19: Some of the more able bodied aid recipients under the State Welfare Department could take up modern precision farming to increase their income.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah opined they could take up hydroponic farming which uses light technology and is not labour extensive.
According to a statement, he said this after presenting hampers and cash assistance to 150 recipients of the State Welfare Department monthly asistance in conjunction with the coming Hari Gawai Dayak and Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations here today.
Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Sri Fatimah Abdullah was also present.
He also presented State Endownment Fund monies and PBB Sayang Squad hampers to others.
Meanwhile, Uggah who is also the Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development said his ministry together with Fatimah’s ministry could work together in helping in the marketing of products.
“We can ensure we will be able to increase their income by buying all their products like vegetables and fruits and cakes and biscuits.
“By doing so we hope they will one day step out of the category (of welfare assistance) and be able to fend for themselves,” he added.
Uggah also said that livestock rearing might not be a viable option for them as it is more physical and requires greater cost.
Touching on the festive aid, he said this showed that the state Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government was aware of the receipients’ plight and was looking after them.
“The less fortunate are not a forgotten group as we have a ministry and a minister dedicated to looking after them .
“During our festive seasons they are given extra assistance on top of what they are receiving,” he said.
Meanwhile, Fatimah said from January to April this year, the government had spent RM67.314 million on welfare assistance.
She said there were 30,750 recipients for Gawai Dayak and 15,626 recipients for the Hari Raya festive seasons hamper and cash assistance.
She said each recipient was given RM100 in cash and a food hamper worth RM50.
Meanwhile on the Sarawak Endowment Fund which she described as uniquely Sarawak, she urged parents to fill in the relevant application form when registering any new birth at their nearest National Registration Department.
“It is very important that this form is returned to the department at any of its 52 branch offices statewide,” she elaborated.
She added each child would be given RM1,000 to be deposited in his/her bank account in Bank Islam which offered 4.2 per cent interest rate per year.
Fatimah said the fund would be redeemable when the child is 18 years old to either finance his/her tertiary education or as business start-up fund.
She said children born to Sarawakian parents/parent outside the state or country would also be eligible for it upon application.
She also said from January until April 25, 2019, the National Registration Department had recorded some 11,508 births in the state and of the figure, 10,317 were Sarawakians .
“But only 5, 070 of them or 49.14 per cent have registered for the fund.
“We are joining the National Registration Department on their roadshows statewide to publicise this fund.
“Now we are getting more applications coming in,” she said.
Meanwhile on the monthly welfare assistance, she hoped community leaders and elected representatives could inform her department of those who were deserving of the aid in their areas in order for assistance to be rendered. — DayakDaily