Politics shouldn’t obstruct food aid and compassion

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Sketch by Aliran member Wong Soak Koon

Let not petty politicking be in the way of helping the needy, Mustafa K Anuar writes.

The implementation of the movement control order has resulted in the temporary closure of many small, medium and big businesses, leaving in its wake financially bleeding employers and workers who are uncertain of their tomorrow.

Some workers do not get any income because they are paid daily. Others have been laid off, and the rate of joblessness is predicted to increase.

This situation gives rise to severe economic hardships to families and individuals to the extent that they are unable to buy enough food.

Poor and marginalised families in the bottom 40% bracket are so badly hit by the movement control order that putting food on the table is now a harrowing uncertainty.

A few were reportedly desperate enough to venture out and forage for food, only to get arrested for movement control order violations.

Food aid from various quarters, particularly the government, provides a glimmer of hope for the survival for these people.

It is, thus, a relief to learn that Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun had said more that than 260,000 baskets and other forms of aid have been distributed to the needy through Welfare Department offices so that no one is left behind.

This was in response to a complaint by Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh that at least 54 opposition parliamentary constituencies have not received aid from the Welfare Department.

It is hoped that the food aid hampers would have reached the needy by now. Otherwise, petty partisan politics would mean that the needy and the desperate in opposition areas have been discriminated against by the ruling party and unjustly victimised.

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Not only that, a further and conscious delay in food aid delivery could mean starvation for some families. Surely such an ugly eventuality can and should be avoided.

To be poor and unfed is already bad enough. They surely do not deserve to have their lives humiliated on the altar of partisanship.

Be that as it may, politicians of all hues should be inspired by the compassionate souls in our midst who have come together in aid of the poor, the destitute and the needy.

Kind souls somehow prevail at a critical time.

For example, food delivery riders from Foodpanda and Grabfood, both competitors, took time off recently and passed the hat around to provide free food to Kuala Lumpur’s urban poor and the homeless.

The Al-Islamiah Mosque in Petaling Jaya recently distributed food aid – such as rice, flour, eggs and cooking oil – to the needy, irrespective of ethnicity and nationality,

The deeds of these good-hearted and selfless people remind us that compassion drives them to assist the needy without bothering about ethnic and religious backgrounds and political affiliations, especially in the hour of need. The welfare of people is their priority. They are also aware that starvation, like the Covid-19 virus, could lead to death if not tackled urgently and effectively.

Let not petty politicking get in the way of helping the needy, especially if it severely affects the lives of many.

Source: themalaysianinsight.com

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