MP: Food Aid Given to Rasah Costs Only RM35

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A Pakatan Harapan lawmaker claimed that the government-funded Covid-19 food packs are not worth RM100 a pack as promised.

Rasah MP Cha Kee Chin said his office received 150 packs yesterday, but he and his team found that the total value of each packet of food was only worth around RM35.

This is from the 1,000 Covid-19 food packs for the B40 lower-income group during the current movement control order (MCO) which the Perikatan Nasional government said had been allocated for each parliamentary constituency.

According to Cha, there were only seven items in the orange packet, which are five kilogrammes of rice, one kilogramme of cooking oil, one packet of rice vermicelli, a packet of biscuits, tea and instant coffee.

“We opened it up when my assistant brought back the food packs (to the office) and the contents were not to our expectation.

Cha Kee Chin

“The rice has an RM13 price tag on it, the price of oil and bee hoon (rice noodles) is between RM2 and RM3 each…the food pack probably cost, at most, RM35,” Cha added.

The five-kilogramme packet of rice is only sufficient for a week if the recipient has four or five family members, Cha lamented when contacted by Malaysiakini yesterday evening.

He said he did ask for an explanation from the Seremban Social Welfare Department (JKM) regarding the “devalued” food packs, but the officer replied that these were the items they had received from the higher-ups.

Cha Kee Chin

The Social Welfare Department is the government agency under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development.

Malaysiakini has contacted the minister, Rina Harun, and the local Social Welfare Department for a response.

For fear of the public’s misunderstanding, Cha said that he and his team have had to explain during the distribution to recipients that the food packs were not purchased by his parliamentary office, but by JKM.

“If there is no explanation, the people may mistakenly believe that we only spent RM35 of the RM100 allocation for each food packet.

Malaysiakini

Price estimation from Cha Kee Chin

“So, what happened in between? They would misconstrue that I or my assistant pocketed (the remaining RM65),” Cha lamented.

Cha said his team would continue to give out aid to the needy and prioritise the poorest community, despite these problems.

However, when compared with Kulai and Cheras parliamentary constituencies, it seemed that the value of the food packs given there is more or less equivalent to what the government had promised.

DAP Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching and Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai both confirmed that the value of the food aid in the packets they checked is around RM100.

Food aid received in Cheras.

According to Teo, there were 10 items in the food packs: 10kg of rice, 5kg of cooking oil, 2kg of sugar, 2kg of wheat flour, one can of sardine, two cans of condensed milk, and one packet each of biscuits, bihun and tea/coffee.

Malaysiakini

Price estimation from Teo Nie Ching

Therefore, the food items received by the households in Kulai are almost twice as much as that given to the people in the Rasah constituency.

The total amount of food aid in Kulai constituency was estimated at RM90.50.

Meanwhile, the undistributed food packets at the Bandar Tun Razak Sports Complex contained 14 items when checked by Tan.

Ng Xiang Yi/Malaysiakini

Each packet has two packs of wheat flour, three packs of cooking oil, three packs of sugar, one pack of bihun, one pack of salt, three cans of sardine, three can of condensed milk, one bottle each of soy sauce and chilli sauce, three packs of biscuits, a packet of dry chilli, one packet of coffee powder and one packet of tea.

Malaysiakini

Estimation based on refering to Tesco and Shopee pricing

According to the price check on the Tesco supermarket website, the total cost of the above items is around RM110.

Previously, Tan revealed that up to 750 Covid-19 food packs for the lower-income group, which included groceries and rice, have been left undistributed at the Bandar Tun Razak Sports Complex for two weeks.

Tan claimed that he was denied his fair share of the food aid for distribution as he was an opposition lawmaker, while the 1,000-bags allocation for Bandar Tun Razak constituency – a seat held by Deputy Foreign Minister Kamaruddin Jaafar – were already distributed.

Kow Gah Chie/Malaysiakini

Last Friday, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh had claimed that at least 54 opposition parliamentary constituencies had yet to receive the food aid allocation for their respective constituencies.

Yeoh, who previously served as women, family and community development deputy minister, claimed that her Segambut constituency received just 250 packs of this aid.

It was reported that the only opposition-held constituency to receive its full quota of 1,000 food packs was Langkawi, which is represented by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, while Kangar, held by Noor Amin Ahmad of Pakatan Harapan, and Kubang Pasu, held by Amiruddin Hamzah of Bersatu, had received 900 hampers each.