Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah (centre) hand over the grant to one of the NGOs representatives during the grants handing over ceremony to NGOs and associations at Wisma Kebajikan in Petra Jaya, Kuching. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

KUCHING: Sarawak government, through the Ministry of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development, has presented grants worth RM1,291,000 to 125 non-governmental organisations (NGO).

Due to the conditional movement control order (CMCO), only five selected NGOs were invited as a symbolic gesture to Wisma Kebajikan, Petra Jaya here yesterday.

Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the Covid-19 pandemic had affected the NGOs and social welfare organisations, particularly those providing residential care and rehabilitation for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

She said during the CMCO, community-based rehabilitation centres (PDK) faced a tough time as social welfare was not classified as essential services, and NGOs were not allowed to organise any fundraising programme or activity involving crowds.

“Thus, this assistance, in the form of a grant from the Sarawak government, will hopefully help the NGOs meet a portion of their needs,” she said during the presentation ceremony.

She said the grant could at least assist the NGOs in paying office rental, staff salary, and other expenses.

Fatimah (centre) with the grants recipients and others poses for a photograph after the grants handing over ceremony to NGOs and associations. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

“The state government recognises the contributions and roles taken by the NGOs, especially in all aspects such as welfare, women and children protection, family development, education, physical and mental health, crime prevention, including environment conservation.”

She then said of the NGOs in the state, about 54 were PDK, 13 were Senior Citizen Activity Centre (PAWE) and 14 were Senior Citizen Care Centres (PPWE).

“For each PDK, PAWE, PPWE, a total of RM6,000 will be channelled to their account for them to carry out community programmes.”

She added that post MCO was critical for the community to adopt and adapt to the new normal in their daily lives.

“I hope our NGOs can play their part to create greater awareness, sharing, and educating society to become more caring among others.

“Also become a catalyst for change in their community, organise and lead public events by way of telecommunity through alternative means such as webinar, online communication and system support mechanism,” she said.

NGOs could collaborate with the government on social intervention programmes and research to provide input for societal wellbeing in Sarawak, disseminate information on the government’s assistance and aid effectively to inform communities in need and provide awareness on compliance with standard operating procedure and norms related to the new normal, Fatimah added.