Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (centre) and others witnessing handing over of the Kenyalang Gold Card application forms from Kho Teck Wan (third left) to an officer of State Welfare Department (JKMNS) Kuching Division at her office in Baitul Makmur building, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: A total of 87,953 senior citizens across the state have applied for the Kenyalang Gold Card (KGC) as of Feb 13.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said Kuching division recorded the highest number of applications with 23,366, followed by Sibu (12,028) and Miri (8,887).

Serian recorded 2,303 applications, Samarahan (4,176), Sri Aman (6,341), Betong (6,726), Sarikei (6,625), Kapit (5,153), Mukah (3,531), Bintulu (4,056) and Limbang (4,761).

“The Malaysia Statistic Department has projected that the number of senior citizens in Sarawak in 2020 is 334,500.

“Therefore, we are expecting more to apply for the KGC,” she told reporters after the handing over of KGC application forms from Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Pending branch and Batu Kawa Service Centre at her office in Baitul Makmur, yesterday.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (centre) and others witnessing handing over of the Kenyalang Gold Card application forms from Kho Teck Wan (third left) to an officer of State Welfare Department (JKMNS) Kuching Division at her office in Baitul Makmur building, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

She said currently, the State Welfare Department is working very hard to key in applicants’ details into the database and expects the KGC cards to be ready by next month.

“Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will launch the card on March 7 during the Sarawak Women X-Symposium: Global Innovative Entrepreneurship at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

“Hopefully, on that day, we will be able to distribute the cards to applicants who have applied earlier, and they can start using the card at selected vendors,” she said.

She said the ministry was looking into creating a system where Sarawakians could easily apply for welfare assistance online.

“We are now in discussion with Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) to work out the system,” she said.

Among the assistance provided by the government that will be added to the system includes the KGC, Endowment Fund Sarawak (EFS), post-natal care assistance, Special Annual Grant (GTK) for kindergartens, ePrenuers, and death assistance fund.

“In the meantime the KGC card has 46 strategic partners ranging from retail outlets, pharmacies and private hospitals,” she said, adding that response has been encouraging since the initiative was announced.

“Our team will also be going down to the ground to seek other strategic partners to be part of this programme,” she said.

Earlier, Fatimah witnessed the handing over of 3,321 KGC application forms from SUPP Pending branch (1,632) and Batu Kawa Service Centre (1,689) to the head of the State Welfare Department’s Social Support Service branch, Irine Andrew Gonggang.

Sarawakians aged 60 and above with the ‘K’ status can obtain the KGC application form any Welfare Department, District, sub-district, and Resident offices or through community leaders all over the state.