Sarawak refuses to register recipients for cash aid programme? Lies, says DCM

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today denied an allegation by a Pakatan Harapan (PH) deputy minister that the state government had instructed district officers not to help register Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today denied an allegation by a Pakatan Harapan (PH) deputy minister that the state government had instructed district officers not to help register Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, Feb 24 — Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas today denied an allegation by a Pakatan Harapan (PH) deputy minister that the state government had instructed district officers not to help register Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) recipients.

He said the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) is deeply concerned about the serious and malicious allegation made by Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Sarawak PH chairman Chong Chieng Jen yesterday.

“His allegation that the state government had issued an instruction to all district offices to reject the welfare programme by the PH government is baseless.

“This accusation smacks of hidden political agenda with intent merely to discredit the state government and its office,” Uggah said.

In a statement yesterday, Chong, who is also Sarawak DAP chairman, had claimed that some Sarawakians who were eligible for BSH programme were facing difficulties registering because state agencies were unwilling to facilitate the process.

He alleged that district officers had been instructed not to facilitate the registration of BSH, citing the district officers of Bau, Serian and Simanggang, as examples.

Chong had also alleged that the district officers would not act as such on their own without instructions from the state government unless they were lazy. 

Uggah explained that BSH is handled by the Federal Treasury and its agencies, with minimal involvement of the district officers, unlike Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) where the district officers were involved.

“This is neither due to any instruction from the state government nor the reluctance or laziness of the district officers to assist,” he explained.

“Despite that, CMO has issued an instruction to Residents of 11 administrative divisions, 29 district officers and seven sub-district officers 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 February 1, 2019 Reference No. (38) JKM/up/900-2/3/7BTW,” he said, adding that there was no such thing that the state government had given instructions to district officers not to assist with the BSH as Chong had alleged.

He said the assistance and cooperation of the district officers have greatly facilitated the cash payment of BSH to the rural recipients.

He added the district officers 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.

Uggah said the distribution of BSH vouchers to those without bank accounts was from February 11 until March 7 in 31 locations in Sarawak.

“To date, 21 locations have been successfully covered. The Federal Financial Office reaffirmed that the district officers have provided the necessary assistance and cooperation without which the programme would not have been implemented smoothly,” he said.