Rallying efforts to help hardcore poor

PUTRAJAYA: Hypermarkets may be roped in to provide frozen food for the hardcore poor in urban areas to help them cope with the high cost of living.

The proposal, which may involve co-operation from ministries, is part of a food aid programme and among initiatives being considered to help those facing hardship living in the city.

However, the Government’s high-level committee tasked with looking into cost of living issues has not determined whether the goods will be given free or sold at a hugely discounted price to those eligible and the mechanism to ensure the target group benefits from the programme.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was among issues raised in a meeting yesterday and further discussion was needed before it could be implemented.

The Government is committed to helping the people, especially urban dwellers, deal with the high cost of living, he said after chairing the meeting.

He said to effectively tackle issues of urban poverty, food prices, housing and transportation must be dealt with.

According to studies, the three elements alone take up two-thirds of a household income, with the highest being food expenses.

If we want to resolve this issue, we must deal with the increase in food prices, housing and transportation first, he added.

Dr Ahmad Zahid wants the food programme to be extended to students in institutes of higher learning in major towns to help them get decent meals.

The meeting also endorsed several programmes in aid of the urban poor, including setting up one-stop centres to make it easy for them to seek help, for agencies to extend assistance, up their skills and help the group manage their finances.

The committee also looked into a proposal to give incentives to developers to build houses using the industrialised building system to bring down construction cost.

The Government has implemented various programmes to help the people, especially the low-income and poor. I want to see our initiatives promoted well on various media platforms, including social media. The public needs to know what we are doing for them and how they can reach out for help, said Dr Ahmad Zahid.

Source: Malaysian Trades Union Congress