Food, childcare support available for vulnerable groups during MCO

Protect the elderly and those with medical conditions, says Dr Noor Hisham

By HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by BERNAMA

VARIOUS relief initiatives have been launched to ease the burden of groups impacted by Covid-19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO).

One such initiative is the #FrontlinersFirst project by Projek Wawasan Rakyat (POWR) that support the Health Ministry (MoH) staff with urgent childcare requirements.

Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) president and POWR coordinator Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said there are very few alternatives in childcare services as it must be licensed.

“At the same time, these groups also run the risk of exacerbating the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement recently.

According to him, POWR aims to raise funds to support at least 50% of the childcare costs, collaborating with childcare service platform KiddoCare who are reducing their rates for MoH frontliners.

“There may also, as of yet, still be insufficient measures in place to ensure the livelihoods of small-time traders whose businesses will be nearly shut down completely by the MCO.

“Many such Malaysians depends on extremely small incomes, and will not have the financial means necessary to provide for their families over a long period of business shutdowns,” he added.

As such, he called for the government to redirect resources from political leaders to frontliners and vulnerable groups including low-income earners, the elderly, the homeless, migrant workers, and refugees.

Muhammad Faisal suggested that the government could emulate the move undertaken by the Singapore government where its ministers and holders of political office will be taking pay cuts while giving bonuses to government servants in the front lines combating the virus.

“The latest Cabinet is significantly larger than the previous ones, and the additional salaries for ministers, deputy ministers, political secretaries and all the various attendant staff are all extremely high.

“Thus, sufficient measures must be taken immediately as Malaysian frontliners are facing massive burdens,” he added.

Meanwhile, prominent food bank The Lost Food Project (TLFP) GM Mohd Syazwan Mokhtar said that although TLFP is still operating its food distribution services, they are in middle of looking at ways to continue providing sustenance to its most critical charities due to the Covid- 19 crisis.

“Although ‘feeding the hungry, not the landfill’ is our mantra, we look at this critical time to focus on providing food for the needy first particularly when food source becomes scarce, especially for the B40 group,” Mohd Syazwan said in a statement last Friday.

He mentioned that TLFP is looking at ways to collaborate with food delivery service to provide cooked meals to some of its charities.

“A platform will also be launched soon to allow people to contribute as these meals will incur some cost for preparation,” he said.

Mohd Syazwan stressed that all of the efforts will be conducted within the MCO guidelines and TLFP is tailoring its operational procedures to suit health and safety standards during this time.

“Beyond this crisis, TLFP is determined to continue and grow our operations, work with more partners and stakeholders to ensure that we are able to provide to more underprivileged communities,” he added.

Separately, MoH DG Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah (picture) is encouraging the spirit of helping among Malaysians when he tweeted that the nation should protect the elderly and those with medical conditions.

“Help them so as they don’t need to leave home and teach them to protect themselves,” he said on his Twitter account last Friday.