Impasse between Welfare Department, BSN and CIMB over welfare payment needs to be resolved – Chang

Irene Chang speaking with some of the aid recipients waiting outside the BSN in Sibu.

By S. Harrish

THE Sarawak Welfare Department (JKM) has been urged to look into solving the problems faced by welfare aid recipients in Sibu.

Aid recipients need to have a Bank Simpanan Nasional account to receive their monthly aid and those without it need to open one.

Pending assemblywoman Irene Chang said since BSN was also serving other customers with other banking matters, the Sibu branch can only serve 20 customers daily for those who need to open a new account.

“This is causing long queues and extreme frustration to the people as a lot of people have been turned away despite queuing from early in the morning.

“And some of them are elderly persons or those with mobility issues. It is also difficult to observe SOP outside the bank premises which did not have enough waiting spaces.”

Chang said in a statement that many of them initially had accounts in CIMB Bank but because it was moving towards online banking, JKM has moved to BSN which still accepts manual payments through cheques.

“I further understand that if aid recipients can convert their savings accounts to the online platform in CIMB, there won’t be any need to send them to BSN for the new account.

“The question is why JKM is not agreeing to the conversion from manual to online, when the latter is obviously more convenient and safer, especially during these pandemic days.”

The DAP representative said there was absolutely no reason to resist the conversion as digital platforms including those in banks were the primary element in the digital economy which the State government has been promoting.

She called upon Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah and JKM to urgently into the impasse, which is causing a lot of hardship to the welfare aid recipients in Sibu.