Minister: Armed Forces will use helicopters to deliver supplies to rural villages in Sabah and Sarawak

Malaysian Armed Forces being deployed to help the police enforce the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, March 22, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Malaysian Armed Forces being deployed to help the police enforce the movement control order in Kuala Lumpur, March 22, 2020. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The Malaysian Army will be deploying its assets in Sabah and Sarawak to deliver goods to rural, hard-to-reach areas, Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.

The federal minister said that they have received complaints from Sabah and Sarawak that supplies have failed to reach some rural areas that sometimes cannot be reached by road access.

“We received complaints from those in long houses, for example, they say the goods don’t get to them. So we decided at our meeting today that the army will use their assets, like helicopters to send food and other necessities to the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.

“They should not worry because the government will always ensure that they get enough supplies,” he said.

In Sabah and Sarawak, where villages are often far apart and many live on hand-to-mouth existences, the closure of businesses, limitations on daily markets and movement have caused much stress.

The two-state governments have also announced food aid to be sent to their poor.

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg has announced an additional RM16.4 million in food assistance while Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal announced RM20 million for food aid to all villages in Sabah.

The movement control order is at its halfway point, having started two weeks ago on March 18 but was later extended for another two weeks.

Phase two of the MCO begins tomorrow with stricter regulations and control.

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