NGOs tell why barring them from delivering food, aid is problematic

NGOs cite many problems if Rela or the Welfare Department were to distribute their food and other items to the needy and deserving during MCO.

PETALING JAYA: NGOs directly involved in providing aid to frontliners and needy groups have voiced concern over the government’s move to bar them from delivering during the movement control order (MCO).

Speaking to FMT, A Ravendiran Arjunan, the president of the Malaysian Association of Indian University Graduates, said he was afraid the government’s new ruling might lead to wastage and delays.

The new ruling requires NGOs to send food and aid to collection points run by the Welfare Department before they are distributed by Rela or Civil Defence Force.

Ravendiran, whose NGO has been working with Yayasan MyNadi and Hindu Dharmamamandharam to send food to three public hospitals daily, says coordination will become a problem.

“We supply food to the frontliners, according to their dietary requirements, whether it is halal food or vegetarian food.

“Before this, we worked directly with the hospitals. They tell us their needs and we send the food to the respective hospital operations room.”

In their case, if the hospitals on a certain day state they have sufficient supply from other donors, they would not ask for food.

He said without proper coordination, people may be donating more than what is needed and this could lead to wastage.

His organisation, Ravendiran said, receives donations from the public and these are used to purchase food from suppliers. They then collect the food and distribute them.

“So freshness will now be another concern. How fast can the government redistribute the food? In our case, if we have to deliver food to the hospital in Klang, we order the food from Klang.”

He also said he was worried about not being able to let donors know when the food they sponsored would reach the intended groups.

Now, he said, they would send pictures of deliveries to donors so that they know their money had been really spent on charity.

Klima Action Malaysia (Kamy) chairman Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar, whose organisation helps the Orang Asli, said they were not affected by the new ruling but disagreed with it.

In the case of Kamy, Nadiah said that they worked directly with the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) to distribute dry food and sanitary items which are enough for a family for up to three weeks.

“Jakoa has informed us that no outsiders are allowed to come into contact with the Orang Asli to keep them safe from the virus,” she said, adding this was not a problem for them as they have been dealing with Jakoa regularly.

She disagreed with the government’s new ruling because in some communities, like refugees, the authorities did not have the same rapport with the community members.

“Many of the people who need help, like refugees, fear the authorities. If these communities are not taken care of, you will have bigger problems later.

“The government should have consulted the people on the ground. I hope they review this ruling and get NGOs on board.”

Joe Yap, who was helping to deliver food and medical supplies directly to poor homes and hospitals says she is not sure what she will do now.

“I still have supplies with me to deliver. My main concern is making sure the supplies reach those who really need them.

“I am also worried whether the government has sufficient manpower to deliver the goods.

“The NGOs and volunteers can help mobilise the aid. These NGOs have been on the ground and know those who need help well.”