Penang govt to review decade-old social welfare programmes

The state government also introduced an ‘Empowering the Street Citizens’ programme to assist vagrants who sleep in the streets. — AFP pic
The state government also introduced an ‘Empowering the Street Citizens’ programme to assist vagrants who sleep in the streets. — AFP pic

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 9 — The Penang state government will be reviewing its various social welfare programmes that it had introduced since 2008.

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow (PH - Padang Kota) said the state’s i-Sejahtera programmes for senior citizens, single mothers, the disabled, newborns and students needed to be reviewed in line with the federal government’s reduction of BR1M in stages.

“The state government had paid out RM412.63 million under this programme since 2008 to 1.6 million people in Penang,” he said when reading out the state Budget 2019 today.

He said the state administration wanted to review the programme to ensure the pay-out was given to those who really needed the aid.

“If the programme is continued next year, the state will allocate RM45 million for 2019,” he said.

As at October 2018, the state allocated RM30.85 million to 955 recipients under the Agenda Ekonomi Saksama (AES) programme.

He said the state government had also introduced the Mutiara Food Bank in collaboration with the Food Aid foundation where food was distributed to the less fortunate.

“A total of 23,576 recipients have benefited from this programme since it was introduced in 2017,” he said.

The state government also introduced an “Empowering the Street Citizens” programme to assist vagrants who sleep in the streets.

“A transit centre for vagrants will be built and it will provide basic amenities such as food, clothes and a place to stay,” he said.

He said the programme is a tri-partite venture between the state government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations.

“We have identified a house belonging to the city council along Jalan CY Choy to be the transit centre,” he said.

The building will be renovated and is expected to be completed by January 2019.

“This transit centre can also be used as a senior citizen activity centre,” he said.

He said a total of RM560,000 will be allocated for skills training programmes for vagrants and the permanent relocation of vagrants.

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