Sarawak minister tells Opposition to stop baseless claims

Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah speaks to reporters, February 17, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Sarawak Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah speaks to reporters, February 17, 2019. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, April 6 — A Sarawak minister told Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen to stop making false accusations about the distribution of food aid to the target groups affected by the movement control order (MCO) in the state.

Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the strategies and approaches of the food supply chain subcommittee are to ensure that the essential food supply provided by the state government reach the groups.

“We give our priority to treat the sick, provide support to their family, render relevant assistance to the frontliners and also help those who are directly impacted by MCO,” she said when responding to Chong’s accusations.

Chong, who is also Stampin Member of Parliament, claimed that he and Bandar Kuching Member of Parliament Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen submitted a list of names and contacts of about 3,000 families who needed the supply and delivery of essential food items to the state Welfare Department between March 30 and April 4.

He had said as of yesterday, almost all of them did not receive the food supplies.

He said only a small percentage received the supplies, not from the department, but from the church groups, non-governmental organisations and some DAP members.

Fatimah, who is also the deputy chairman of the food supply chain subcommittee, explained that the food supply assistance to the people of Sarawak is managed centrally by the Divisional or District Disaster Committees (DDCs) comprising of the Residents or District Officers, Sarawak Welfare Department and other related government agencies, the State Assemblymen and MPs service centres and the relevant NGOs.

“All funding is channelled to and managed by the DDCs,” she said, adding that all payments to the relevant food suppliers for the purchase of food will be made by DDCs.

“All name lists from the various sources, such as the government agencies like the local authorities, Sarawak Welfare Department, state assemblymen and MPs service centres, and any other individuals, are submitted to this committee, for central coordination and verification,” she said.

Fatimah said as of today, all 82 constituencies have started delivery of food essentials to the target groups.

She said daily monitoring is being done by the food supply chain subcommittee to ensure that challenges and problems faced by each DDC, in terms of the supply of food items, transportation and delivery to the various households, can be overcome without delay. 

Fatimah added for the rural and remote areas such as Bario, Telang Usan, Baram, Lawas, Sri Aman and Kapit, which are not reachable by road, the state government has enlisted helicopter services, which started yesterday and will continue till April 8, subject to weather conditions. 

“We would like to appeal to the public to stay calm, be patient, and be confident in the high commitment of the state government in handling the challenges of Covid- 19,” she added.

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