Press Statement By Violet Yong:
As the Sarawak Minister for the Local Government and Housing, Dr Sim Kui Hian is duty bound to ensure the deserved rights and welfare of all the licensed hawkers who seek livelihood at local councils markets are duly taken care of, especially the hawkers have income from their trade and the aid under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 6.0 is being disbursed to them timely.
Lately, two markets under the jurisdiction of Majlis Perbandaran Kuching Selatan (MBKS) and five markets under Majlis Perbandaran Padawan (MPP) respectively have been directed by the Ministry of Health to close immediately due to Covid-19 positive cases. Those markets affected include Padungan Central Market, Kenyalang Community Market, 10 th Mile Kota Padawan Market, 7 th Mile Kota Sentosa Market, 3 rd Mile Sungai Maong Market, Cat’s Walk Street Market and Taman Desa Wira Temporary Hawker Centre.
“Due to the sudden closure of these markets, many hawkers have lost income in toto and therefore they require the BKSS 6.0 welfare aid urgently from the state government to help them tide over their difficulties”.
Over the past days, I received many feedbacks from the hawkers that the first batch of RM750 BKSS 6.0 money as promised by the Sarawak Government is still not paid to them via their SarawakPay accounts.
I wish to question Dr Sim Kui Hian, being one of the state cabinet ministers, whether he had ever raised the issue concerning the undue delay in payment of the BKSS money in the cabinet meeting? The first batch of money was supposed to be paid out sometime in July, 2021. Yet, till now two months had passed, many hawkers are still eagerly waiting for it. The snail pace in disbursing the aid by the government is totally unacceptable.
Earlier in May, 2021, the Sarawak Government announced that the RM1500 BKSS 6.0 for eligible hawkers and petty traders will be paid out over two batches whereby the first payment of RM750 shall be made in July and the balance of RM750 in December.
“For many who have yet to receive the BKSS 6.0 money within the promised period, they opined that the state government is giving out a blank cheque. After all, we are now in the month of September and the payment of money has not been remitted into their SarawakPay accounts”.
In addition, many are puzzled as to why up till now since the implementation of BKSS 1.0 last year, there is no proper channel or avenue being set up for public to make enquiry about the status of the BKSS money, causing every applicant or recipient to feel very helpless throughout. The whole implementation process is just very messy as the public are not properly informed and kept fully updated from time to time over the matter.
In my view, the Sarawak Government is not caring enough towards the plights of the people when we see time after time, the promised aids have not been paid out on time and reasons for the delay were also never been made known to the respective applicants.
Meanwhile, I wish to call on MBKS and MPP to stop collecting licence fees from the hawkers for the period when the markets are mandatory ordered to be closed. During the closure, the affected hawkers are unable to trade and have no income at all and it is unfair and unjustifiable to make these hawkers to pay for the licence fees.
ADUN for Pending