KUCHING: Dewan Negara Senator Robert Lau Hui Yew has lamented the sensationalisation of the news about 1,000 Sibu folk needing food aid.
“This headline is sensationalising the issue at hand. It is way out of proportion when the statement by Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) Sibu chairman Chambai Lindong said over a thousand had applied for food aid.
“That became thousands near starvation in the headline,” he said in a Facebook post, expressing his disappointment with national media outlets that picked up a Bernama story and portraying it as such.
Lau said while there were many who are in dire need of food aid due to the imposed movement control order (MCO) in Sibu, which was extended to Kapit and Song, the authorities were currently in the midst of rolling out the supplies.
“The Sarawak government has immediately implemented the food aid programme, Sarawakku Sayang, which is worth millions.
“Kapit and Song districts will get aid of close to RM1.5 million, whereas Sibu Divison will have about RM5 million,” he said.
The Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Bawang Assan chief said the challenge now is in terms of the distribution of the supplies.
“This is due to the vast land mass, scattered population and lack of good road networks in the interior.
“The help from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) like SDNU and numerous church organisations is much appreciated,” he said.
On Wednesday, Chambai said SDNU received requests for food and had submitted more than 1,000 names to the Sibu Division Disaster Management Committee to coordinate the distribution of food baskets.
He also said many rural folk in Sibu town wanted to return to their respective longhouses but were not allowed to do so due to the current MCO.
“Their hope now lies with the disaster committee. The earlier the food aid is given to them, the better,” he added.