By Emma Victoria
PENDING Assemblywoman Violet Yong questioned if the Kenyalang Gold Card (KGC) has actually benefited senior citizens in easing their financial burdens.
She said the card purportedly comes with instant discounts or rebates on everyday essentials like groceries, food, healthcare, telecommunication and transportation.
She said the government also claimed the card included other benefits such as employment, tailoring, hair saloon and massages as well as high value special offers.
“But, unfortunately, so far, we have not seen any benefits offered by the state government which our senior citizens could enjoy to ease their financial burdens. For many, the current KGC is only a mere shopping discount card with very limited choices as there are not many participating merchants,” she said in a statement.
She said the state government should consider extending its scope of benefits to senior citizens including those that could ease their financial burdens like giving out periodic aged pension, old aged career allowances, parenting allowances, widow allowances, dementia support programme, support for various essential services, assistance for household costs etc.
“It is the responsibility of the state government to ensure our public funds are put to good use by maximizing the benefits and entitlements of the KGC rather than sticking to the current range it offers now.”
Yong said the Sarawakian elderly, those aged 60 and above, deserved sincere help from the state government.
“Apart from that, I urge the Sarawak welfare department to expedite the release of the RM3,000 death compassionate assistance to the next-of-kin because we have been told that it requires more than a month for the department to process and verify, which in my view is way too long and unacceptable,” she said.
She said the government should also provide clearer details about who are qualified to apply for the death compassionate fund .
“From our understanding, not every KGC holder who passed away is eligible for the RM3,000, particularly those senior citizens who have insurance coverage, Socso, EPF and own properties,” she added.