GEORGE TOWN, Nov 13 — A Penang state executive councillor questioned today the funding sources of Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M) that came with trailer loads of disaster relief supplies three days after floods hit Penang.
Dr Afif Bahardin, who is the state health, agriculture and agro-based industry committee chairman, said the non-governmental organisation (NGO) arrived with 10 large trailers of supplies such as mattresses and pillows emblazoned with pictures of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“While I am not questioning their good intention in providing the supplies to the flood victims, I want to know where their funding came from,” he said in his winding-up speech at the legislative assembly today.
The Seberang Jaya assemblyman from PKR claimed that the federal Welfare Department had run out of stock and could not provide any basic supplies to flood victims.
“Then three days after the floods, this club went all around the state, to Balik Pulau, to Seberang Perai, to distribute supplies. So why is it that the federal government agency, the Welfare Department, has no allocation for supplies, and yet this so-called NGO has ample supplies?” he demanded.
This prompted Muhamad Farid Saad (BN-Pulau Betong) to state that KP1M was an “NGO kerajaan” (government NGO) that had come out to provide assistance to the victims.
“They are like the Tzu Chi Foundation, who came out to help. Please don’t make baseless accusations like this. KP1M is a ‘NGO kerajaan’,” he said.
Muhamad Farid also said the Welfare Department is under both the state and federal government so if the agency runs out of stock, the state government should provide allocations to the agency to replenish their stock.
Dr Afif responded by pointing out that Tzu Chi was an NGO that was not led by an MP and that it was also a non-profit international humanitarian organisation.
“At least Tzu Chi did not put my face or Guan Eng’s face on their pillows and mattresses,” he said in jest.
KP1M is headed by Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim.
Later, in a press conference, Dr Afif clarified that he was not criticising KP1M for its relief efforts but only where it’s funding came from.
“We only want a straight answer. What happened to the allocation for the Welfare Department? And where did KP1M gets its funding? If they are getting public donations, they should be transparent to show their accounts,” he said.
He said the NGO should make it clear if its funds came from the Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government, public donations or some private donation from Saudi Arabia.
“How can an NGO come with trailers of supplies while the Welfare Department does not bring even one trailer? I want to question, are they taking over the job of the Welfare Department?” he asked.
He pointed out that November and December are monsoon periods when floods and storms are more frequent, so the Welfare Department should have been well-prepared for it.