KUCHING: Food baskets and other assistance from the government and Social Welfare Department (JKM) should be expedited to ensure there is sufficient food for the needy with disabilities, said Persatuan Anak Istimewa Sarawak (Perais) president Rapelson Richard Hamit.
“Many people with disabilities (OKU) who are employed have had their income affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Furthermore, now there are areas in Sarawak undergoing the movement control order (MCO), enhanced movement control order (EMCO), and also conditional movement control order (CMCO),” he said in a statement on Saturday (Feb 6).
He also welcomed assistance from all parties – be it from the federal government, Sarawak government, private agencies, or political parties – which would help affected OKUs.
Noting that food baskets would only help temporarily, he thus hoped that the relevant parties would be able to help OKUs in terms of economic aspects and job opportunities as many OKU traders had been impacted.
He suggested providing special business grants to this group of traders as well as to their registered clubs and associations.
“Apart from that, the RM250 payment under Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) should be extended for six months for the group of disabled and also a one-off payment of RM500 to ease the burden of affected OKU traders and workers,” said Rapelson.
On Saturday (Feb 6), Perais committee members and members who are OKU athletes and workers at Bengkel Seri Sarawak received food basket assistance from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Sarawak.
Unemployed OKUs at Kampung Batu Gong Lama and Kampung Batu Gong Baru also received the food basket assistance to alleviate their burden caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We thank the donors and we welcome aid regardless of politics for the benefit of the group of people with disabilities,” he said.
Rapelson was present during the food basket programme, along with Sarawak Association for People’s Aspiration (Sapa) president Dominique Ng; PKR Sarawak Women secretary Cherishe Ng; PKR Stampin Branch chief David Chow; Perais members and central committee members.
At the same time, he took the opportunity to congratulate Deputy Minister of Plantation and Commodities Datuk Willie Mongin and Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Datuk Ali Biju on receiving the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah which carries the title of ‘Datuk’.
“Datuk Willie Mongin had given a grant of RM20,000 to Perais to allow us to continue programmes for OKU development. We are grateful to him for always supporting the wellbeing of the OKU group,” he said.