Wong Chen says Opposition MPs now getting RM100k from PM for community, intends to use during Covid-19 period

Wong Chen said he will discuss with his officers on the best way to distribute the aid. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Wong Chen said he will discuss with his officers on the best way to distribute the aid. — Picture by Choo Choy May

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The federal government has agreed to allocate RM100,000 to each Opposition MP to spend on the community in their areas, PKR’s Subang MP Wong Chen said today.

Wong said he intends to spend all the RM100,000 to be allocated to him as MP on aid distribution during the Covid-19 crisis.

“Good news! We have just received an official confirmation from the pm office (at 10am) that a sum of RM100,000 has been made available to all Opposition MPs, presumably to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. This amount is to last us the whole year, but I intend to spend all within this crisis period,” he wrote on Facebook today.

Wong said he will discuss with his officers on the best way to distribute the aid and he would also seek feedback from the state assemblymen and community leaders falling within his federal constituency on the intended use of these funds.

“Lastly, we will have to also comply with government regulations on what and how we spend this. As such, my officers and I will be looking at the process and procedures this morning,” he said.

In the Facebook post today, he had attached a photo of an email notification where he was informed of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s agreement for the approval of a RM100,000 allocation for parliamentary seats that do not fall under the ruling coalition, along with guidelines on what kind of programmes can be funded using this allocation and the procedure for using the allocation for welfare and disaster aid.

The email notification did not mention Covid-19.

Wong’s announcement comes just about a week after his March 24 announcement on Facebook, where he said that the federal government had stopped all operational and community funding for his parliamentary constituency overnight when the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that he belongs to lost power on March 1.

Wong had traced the root of the situation to PH’s own actions after it won the 2018 general elections, noting that it had “punished” the then Opposition by limiting their MPs’ operating budget to RM100,000 in comparison to PH MPs who received RM300,000 to run their office, and also by allocating PH MPs RM3.5 million to spend on the community in their areas while Opposition MPs received zero funds to spend on their community.

On March 24, Wong said he would be using his own money to cover all his office’s operational and administrative expenses — of about RM25,000 a month — for March and that he would be scaling down the operating budget.

Wong had also then said that his constituents would unfortunately have to expect no funding for community activities as such allocation was no longer available from the government, and as most of his salary as MP would be channelled into office operations while his volunteers would continue to provide professional advice and assistance on service nights.

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