Food bank benefits 45,500 poor households

Dr Wan Azizah examining some of the vegetables contributed to the Food Bank Malaysia programme. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Food Bank Malaysia, an initiative by the government to alleviate the cost of living, has benefitted 45,850 households as of February.

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the programme, which is also aimed at reducing wastage, had also succeeded in saving 1,055 tonnes of excess food.

“With this initiative, the domestic trade and consumer affairs ministry connects players in the food industry like hypermarkets, supermarkets, manufacturers, restaurants and hotels with its strategic partners, namely Mutiara Food Bank, Food Aid Foundation and Kechara Soup Kitchen to assist in distributing food aid to the target groups.

“With this Food Bank Malaysia, we wish to ensure that no Malaysian goes hungry,” she said when launching Food Bank Malaysia for the Pandan parliamentary constituency at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Pandan Mewah here today.

Also present was Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

Wan Azizah, who is also Pandan MP, said Kechara Soup Kitchen was the strategic partner for the constituency and that the NGO, Voice of Pandan, was also assisting.

According to her, NGOs would assist in collecting food essentials from the hypermarkets and supermarkets involved and distribute to the target groups in the constituency, where more than 200 people have registered (for the aid).

Among the hypermarkets and supermarkets involved are Tesco, Econsave, The Store, NSK and SEGI.

The deputy prime minister said the pioneer project on the aid programme was implemented in Penang in August, 2018.

She said it was successful and serves as a benchmark for implementation in other states like Kelantan, Melaka, Johor, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan as well as the federal capital.

Following the National Committee on Cost of Living (Naccol) meeting on Feb 15, 2019, Wan Azizah had said the government had also decided to expand the initiative to include higher education institutions to assist students in coping with the cost of living.

The excess food items mainly comprise bread, vegetables and fruits.

The people targeted are mostly from the B40 group (the 40% of the population who are in the lower-income bracket).