DAP sets up fund to help hawkers affected by Covid-19 cluster

By S. Harrish

THE DAP has set up a fund to help affected food and drinks hawkers due to the recently declared “ICOM” cluster.

In a joint statement issued by Stampin MP Chong Chieng Jen and Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii, they said whenever a new cluster is announced, it generally led to a sudden drop in business within the vicinity.

“Among the vulnerable group are the food and beverage operators.”

They said that last year, the Sentosa Cluster, Seladah Cluster and Green Hill Cluster affected all businesses in 7th Mile, Gala City and also Jalan Green

Hill in Kuching.

Similarly, the business operators within the ICOM Square area are now affected tremendously.

“We the DAP, have steadfastly pushed for the State government to take the lead in offering financial assistance to those affected. With over RM24 billion in reserves, they should dig into the reserves at times like this.”

To walk the talk, they said the DAP was embarking on a financial assistance package of its own with Bandar Kuching and Stampin service centers putting RM10,000 each into a consolidated fund that will be managed transparently.

“The money from this fund shall be fully utilised to assist those food and drinks hawker stalls operating within the vicinity that have been declared as an official “cluster”.

As a first step, they will be registering those eligible (ICOM cluster) this Sunday.

“We will be on the ground to help those eligible to register and the funds will be distributed to the hawkers as soon as possible.

“We understand that the token that we give may be a small amount to most people but we only have very limited funds available for the programme.”

The MPs hope this will raise awareness towards the importance of SOP compliance and the effects of non-compliance.

At the same time, they also called for a similar initiative to be adopted by the State government on a larger and more comprehensive scale to help the different businesses that have been affected by the pandemic.

This includes legitimate businesses that are not allowed to open during this period including gyms, entertainment, reflexology and spa.

“Good governance is measured when the riches are properly distributed to the people especially during the time of need.

“There is no point claiming that they are a caring government if they do not help the people when they are struggling the most.”

They said that was why the DAP wants the State government to reconvene state assembly and table a bill to utilise the reserve fund to help the people.