By Emma Victoria
SARAWAK government has been urged to be transparent and bipartisan in the food aid distributed to the people during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong said the elected representatives must have the right and access to the information on the food aid recipients.
“Unlike the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) areas where the Adun have full control over the food aid, we (opposition leaders) are kept in the dark over how the RM200,000 allocation for each state constituency was spent,” she said in a statement.
For instance, the Sarawak Welfare Department and Resident Office said they have distributed food aid to 875 families for Padungan, Pending (738 families), Batu Lintang (3,612) and Kota Sentosa (1,675) as of April 13.
“But, the department has refused to disclose the names and details of the recipients although we have requested for it repeatedly. This is totally unacceptable and irresponsible.
I don’t know who are those who have (actually) received the food aid and what are the items given to the people in my area,” she added.
“Every elected representative has the right to know the details of the recipients in the area so that the necessary and proper planning can be made as well as adjustment to ensure that all poor and needy people are taken care of and don’t miss out on the aid.
If there is nothing to hide and all distribution work is done in a proper and transparent manner, there is no reason for Sarawak government to deny the rights of DAP Aduns to know every detail regarding the food aid.”
Yong said although the state allocated RM200,000 each for all 82 state constituencies in Sarawak, the money had never been channeled to service centres of the opposition seats, such as Pending, Padungan, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa.
Those who wanted to apply for the food aid from the state government, need to go through the state welfare department and resident office, by passing the respective local state representatives.
“Due to this unnecessary bureaucracy red tape, it has caused delays in food aid reaching needy families,” she said.
“This is the time where we should put aside political differences to fight the spread of Covid-19.
GPS government must stop playing politics and work with all the elected representatives regardless of their parties to ensure that the food aid truly benefits those who desperately need help, without further delay again,” she stressed.