Send food for homeless to district collection centres, RELA and army will disburse, defence minister tells NGOs

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri advised NGOs to stop delivering food directly to the needy. — Bernama pic
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri advised NGOs to stop delivering food directly to the needy. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 ― Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) helping to feed the poor and homeless during the movement order control (MCO) have been advised to stop delivering food directly to the needy, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said.

Instead, they’ve been advised to send the food to one collection point and the food will then be disbursed by RELA and the army.

“Firstly, let me thank these NGOs who are helping the government during this time in need.

“However in order to reduce movement during this MCO, we cannot allow some to go out to send food while others have to stay at home,” Ismail said during a press conference after chairing the special task force meeting today.

“What I’d like to suggest here is that they send the food supplies to the various centres that have been opened under the Peoples Welfare Department and the Ministry of Women and Family Development in each district.

“These offices will be used as a collection point for the food. Then to deliver the food to the needy, we decided that the RELA and the army will be in charge of this,” he said.

Those who used to feed the homeless like the soup kitchen and welfare homes have struggled to get food to feed the needy during the MCO.

One example is in Puchong where volunteers have been busy cooking more than 1,000 meals per day at a large kitchen and delivering them to the needy under Project Mother, set up by Tara Foundation in partnership with Pure Life Society, Global Hindu Federation, United Malaysian Hindu Voice, Malaysia Hindu Dharma Mamandram, and Malaysia Narayani Foundation.

Other groups like Mercy Malaysia, The Lost Food Project and Pit Stop community Cafe have also been doing their part to help distribute food.

However, Ismail said they still want to limit the movement of people around the areas the foods distributed as people can still be exposed.

“We do not want too much movement to happen as it’ll also affect the people living in those areas.

“So while we’re happy and we encourage those who care about others well being to continue to help out, we must still adhere to the rules of the MCO,” Ismail added.

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