Pakatan Harapan lawmakers are forced to find alternative funding to help needy families in their constituencies as food aid promised by the government has yet to arrive.
Besides crowdsourcing, some MPs are digging into their own allowances to feed the poor.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said he is getting help from friends and well-wishers.
“With the money collected, we were able to buy some dry goods for the people who need them. We were also able to distribute fresh vegetables,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
Klang is among the many opposition-held federal seats that have not received food hampers from Perikatan Nasional.
Putrajaya promised 1,000 such hampers for each constituency to ease the plight of poor households during the movement-control order (MCO) to stem the spread of Covid-19.
Segambut’s Hannah Yeoh highlighted the issue on her social media accounts over the last few days, and called on Family, Women and Community Development Minister Rina Harun to explain why the hampers have yet to reach many constituencies despite the MCO starting on March 18.
Rina’s ministry oversees the Welfare Department, whose database of needy families are used to determine distribution. The minister said nobody will be left behind but she did not explain the delays in PH-held areas.
Yeoh and other lawmakers from the former ruling pact, including PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, have said political interference is why the aid has not been delivered in full, with some constituencies missing out entirely.
Politics in the way
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah of PKR said her area has received only 150 of the 1,000 promised food hampers.
“There are many opposition MPs who have not gotten these food hampers. We are lucky as we received 150, but they’re not enough.”
Since March 20, she has been distributing 3,000 packs of food bought with money raised from crowdfunding. People have also contributed food items, such as eggs and vegetables.
“But not all MPs can do crowdsourcing. If the government is fair, all MPs should get the aid in full as promised. This is not the time to play politics,” said the former Bersih 2.0 chairman.
Sepang’s Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said his constituency has also not received the food aid.
The Amanah leader echoed Maria’s sentiment on fair distribution, saying Putrajaya should not discriminate based on politics, as in the end, the poor are the ones who suffer.
Lembah Pantai lawmaker Fahmi Fadzil said he used his allowance to support several families in his area, which received only 250 food hampers.
“I submitted 1,000 names, but they gave us only 250 hampers. We had to use our own money to get the remainder.”
He said it is “very odd” that the government decided to include a RM15 delivery charge for each RM100 hamper.
If the RM15 is deducted for “logistics”, he said, it would mean that the government spent RM3.33 million of the RM22.2 million allocated for the food programme.
“This is very odd as we MPs are doing the distribution.” – TMI