Sabahans call on state govt to improve Covid-19 food aid programme

Food baskets are seen at the Welfare Department in Labuan October 23, 2020. — Bernama pic
Food baskets are seen at the Welfare Department in Labuan October 23, 2020. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 28 — The people of Sabah have called on the state government to improve the food aid programme, especially on determining the eligible recipients and the distribution mechanism to ensure that it would help the people as a whole.

A security guard at a supermarket in Kepayan here , 33, said almost everyday, he met with people who cannot afford to buy daily basic necessities due to job loss, salary cut and many more.

“The food basket assistance is good and needs to be expanded, give it out to all citizens not just the target recipients. More NGOs and private sector need to join the government’s efforts by providing daily necessities.

“Actually, Covid-19 affects all citizens not only those who are infected or quarantined. So this assistance should be given to all those affected,” he told Bernama recently.

The target recipients for the aid are heads of households in localities under the Enhanced movement control order (EMCO) and those ordered to observe home-quarantine by the Ministry of Health.

Port worker in Sepanggar here, Basri Ninggai said he had to take unpaid leave because his company had to cut operating costs and he is now an e-hailing driver.

“So far, the number of Covid-19 infections has reached thousands but in Sabah, there are millions of people. It is true that we need to focus on those who had been infected but do not forget the millions of other people who are affected, the assistance should be given to all,” he said.

For grocery shop employee Nur Hamidah Yahya, 26, she initially had difficulty obtaining assistance, especially the food basket because she did not know who to contact.

“Those who are giving assistance should put the names of the contact person especially on social media”, she said.

Meanwhile, Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin said anyone affected by Covid-19 in the state deserved help.

“The food basket aid is no longer based on e-kasih, anyone who is affected is eligible for assistance,” he said.

State Community Development and People’s Well-being Minister Shahelmy Yahya said the distribution of food basket aid was running smoothly and all suggestions and feedback, especially from the people would be studied.

As of yesterday, a total of 93,793 food baskets have been distributed in 22 districts in the state and 3,322 food baskets were distributed in 14 districts yesterday. — Bernama

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