KUCHING: The rural community will have adequate supplies of food and essential goods as sufficient stocks will be sent to 800 Point of Sales (POS) in the state during the movement control order (MCO) period soon.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan said these POS or grocery stores located in the rural areas were allowed to operate from 7am to 4pm daily.
“The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Sarawak (KPDNHEP) has been asked to ensure that the food supplies are sufficient,” he told a press conference streamed live by Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) yesterday.
Awang Tengah added prices of the items would be controlled and sold according to the wholesale prices.
The deputy chief minister, who is also the food supply chain sub-committee chairman, said all transporters carrying and delivering the essential goods to the POS would be allowed through the road blocks by the police.
“We will seek the assistance of the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) to deliver the food supplies in remote areas such as Belaga, Baram, Bario, Batang Ai, Kapit, Ba’ Kelalan and Long Semadoh so that they arrive quickly,” he said.
He explained that in the remote areas, the food supplies would arrive at the main distribution centre or be sent to the elected representatives.
“Then the food supplies will be delivered to the local community leaders and they will decide how to distribute to the people in the villages,” he said.
Awang Tengah said the State Disaster Management Committee in the various districts or divisions were still collecting information and identifying the distribution centres.
“We will ensure no one is left out and hopefully, in two to three days’ time, we are able to fully distribute the food supplies and essential goods,” he said.
Awang Tengah, who is also Bukit Sari assemblyman, revealed that the delivery of supplies had already started in several areas such as Kuching, Simunjan, Limbang and Lawas.
“We understand there is food disruption in the rural areas because they do not have facilities such as supermarkets.
“So, these are the measures we have taken to ensure there is food on the table for everybody,” he said.
Awang Tengah said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg had approved an allocation of RM16.4 million for distribution of essential food items to target groups throughout the state.
“The committees at the district or divisional level with the help of government agencies, service centres, NGOs will determine these target groups.”
He said these groups could be those in the rural areas, the urban poor and those who lost their jobs during MCO period.