Weekly Highlights

Concrete policies please, Mr PM, before more people face hunger

She came to my office Thursday, absolutely having given up on life. The single mum has no money for food for herself and her four children.

This case is one amongst the many.

However shocking this may seem, the fact is we may very well be facing a hunger crisis in the country.

In his innate wisdom, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob responded to this alarming situation by announcing RM100 in cash to every family

With the price increase, the single mum won’t be able to feed her family with this money. Not even for a week. And neither can any other B40 family of four.

We are facing a triple whammy: job and income losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, consequences of the December floods and now the exorbitant food prices.

A study by UNICEF found that many families in Kuala Lumpur could not afford to eat the same amount of food as they did before their loss of income. Some were reported to eat only one meal a day while others recalled eating more rice, fewer vegetables, and even less meat.

Ismail Sabri responded, yet again, by removing price caps for chicken, eggs and cooking oil. We are taking away subsidies and in doing so the dignity of the poor as well.

While the poor have no more savings, the government has no holistic solution as opposed to Singapore that has unveiled a-S$1.5 billion economic package to combat inflation.

The Prime Minister should therefore disburse RM250 to poor families, kickstart a lunch program in schools and introduce other poverty-targeting policies that would help cushion the B40 community.

In 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations recorded that 900,000 Malaysians were hungry.

In the same year, the World Bank identified that 3 out of 10 Malaysians feel they do not have enough money to buy food.

Fifty-two percent of households living in low cost flats in Kuala Lumpur, do not have enough money for food.

And so, Ismail Sabri needs to act fast before more Malaysians go hungry everyday.

Charles Santiago
Member of Parliament Klang

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