PETALING JAYA: When P Paremanan got word that his member of Parliament, Wong Chen, was forced to suspend the welfare programme he had been running in Kelana Jaya since 2014, the technician was in disbelief.
So yesterday, the 58-year-old travelled all the way to the PKR politician’s office in SS14 to get it straight from the horse’s mouth.
Needless to say, he left crestfallen.
“I really need the money, so I’m still hoping they will continue with the programme.
“I have a heart problem and my wife has a problem with her kidneys. So, we need the Selangor government’s support,” Paremanan told FMT, adding that the couple spent close to RM1,000 a month on medicine alone.
His visit to Wong Chen’s office came the day after Wong Chen apologised publicly for suspending the welfare programme following action taken by the Selangor government which left them with insufficient funds to keep it running.
Paremanan, however, isn’t the only one affected by the suspension of the welfare programme.
On Wednesday, Anitha Manidas, 50, was about to submit the documents which would make her eligible for the aid when she heard the news.
The single mother, who earns a month salary of RM1,500, was devastated.
“I am having financial problems as it is, which is why I need the money right now. But then this happens.”
For Kamsiah Mohamed, a single mother of two, the suspension of the programme has disrupted her preparations for Hari Raya, which is fast approaching.
And the 49-year-old also needs the money to return to her hometown in Kuching, Sarawak.
Her salary, conducting consumer surveys on a part-time basis, is barely enough to raise her two children and support her unemployed sister, she said.
“Now, I’m not sure what to do,” she said, since the RM300 she received from Wong Chen’s office every month helped ease her burdens in the past.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Wong Chen said many of the programme’s applicants were poor and despite the announcement that the welfare programme had been suspended, many turned up at his office hopeful that they would still receive some money.
Wong Chen said staff at his office were now busy writing letters to 355 of his constituents who were interviewed last week for the Welfare Month programme, informing them that it had been suspended indefinitely.
The first-time MP was in the news last month when he revealed some concern over what he viewed as a lack of transparent, fair and proper handling of an audit on the spending of the annual RM250,000 allocation to his office for the running of the programme.
Amid allegations that his office flouted stipulated guidelines, Wong Chen made a public disclosure of the audit findings and the lack of answers from the Selangor state treasury despite repeated queries from him and his staff.
The welfare programme run by Wong Chen’s office helps the needy, with priority given to the poor, single mothers and elderly folk.
* Nurul Azwa contributed to this report.