Press Statement by Chong Chieng Jen:
The State Government must be transparent and come clean on the RM200,000 per DUN area allocation to help the poor families.
After the announcement of the RM200,000 allocation for each DUN by Abang Jo, we were first informed by the Welfare Department that our respective DUN service centres will receive the funding to buy food and help the poor families in our respective constituencies.
However, in less than 24 hours, the Welfare Department informed us that the RM200,000 allocation meant for the DAP DUN areas were withheld by the State Government, and that we, the DAP ADUNs were to submit names, addresses and contacts numbers of those families who need food assistance within our constituencies to the Welfare Department for them to manage the food distribution.
After we submitted the names, addresses and contacts of the families requesting for essential food assistance to the Welfare Department, we waited for a few days to see if the food were delivered. We called the applicants individually to enquired but were informed by most of them (more than 90%) that the Welfare Department did not deliver the food items to them.
When we confronted the Welfare Department on this, we were informed that less than 20% of those applicants whom we have submitted their particulars were approved. And the Welfare Department claimed that instruction from their superior at the ministry forbids them to disclose to us who are the ones whose applications have been approved.
When we pressed further for an answer, the Welfare Department told us that as at 13-4-2020, they have distributed food to 875 families in Padungan DUN area, 738 families in Pending DUN area, 3,612 families in Batu Lintang area and 1,675 families in Kota Sentosa DUN area.
Again, the Welfare Department told us that their superior in the ministry forbids them to disclose the identity of the recipients to us.
On the ground, for the last 2 weeks when we go around distributing essential food to those families in need, we asked the recipients whether they have received anything from the Welfare Department, more than 90% of them said they HAVE NOT. These are families living in wooden houses, low-costs housing area or renting a room on the upper floors of shophouses.
If so many of these deserving cases have not received food assistance from the Welfare Department, to whom had the Welfare Department given the food? How is the RM200,000 allocation each for Padungan, Pending, Batu Lintang and Kota Sentosa spent? Why is there such a need for secrecy on who are the recipients? Why is the ministry refusing to adopt a more transparent and less partisan approach for co-operation during this time of national and international crisis?
We support more allocation for the poor and the economy at this critical time, but such allocation should be maximised the help for the people, not to line the pockets of some connected ones. Therefore, with more allocations, comes more need for such allocations to be transparent.