Putrajaya wants to learn more from Japan, UK food banks, says minister

Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks during opening ceremony of the Food Bank Malaysia Seminar in Putrajaya May 13, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks during opening ceremony of the Food Bank Malaysia Seminar in Putrajaya May 13, 2019. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, May 13 ― Putrajaya will take as inspiration food bank programmes in Japan and the United Kingdom, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said today.

The minister also said that Putrajaya wishes to foster closer ties with all stakeholders involved, from food contributors and recipients.

“For countries like Japan, they do not need special laws, as their communities possess a self-disciplined culture. So, the country's [food bank programmes] do not require additional rulings.

“They self-regulate their programmes,” he told reporters here, referring to the Japanese.

Meanwhile, Saifuddin also pointed out that the UK food bank model is similar to Malaysia's and further knowledge-exchange can be established.

Introduced in August last year, the programme comprising the collection and distribution of surplus food was a jointly organised project by the government, hypermarkets like Giant, Tesco and Mydin among others and non-governmental organisations (NGO) such as Kechara Soup Kitchen.

“The government would like to learn from the past experiences of overseas agencies in various aspects from guaranteeing food supply, management operations, establishing a recipient database to implementing relevant laws about the matter,” he said.

He also noted that today's seminar had drawn 139 participants such food operators and distribution agencies.

The minister highlighted that the seminar will create further awareness among Malaysians about the food bank programme, and serve as a platform for its stakeholders to engage each other and the ministry regarding the issue.

Also present were Deputy Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen and representatives from aid groups Second Harvest Japan, The Lost Food Project and Kechara Soup Kitchen.

According to Bernama reports, Food Bank Malaysia has benefited 45,850 households as of February this year, especially those in the B40 lower income group and was introduced to various public universities last month to aid underprivileged students.