Picture Taken from MalaysiaKini
We the undersigned civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) view with grave concern the announcement by Defence Minister Ismail Sabri concerning how NGOs will now no longer be allowed to deliver food to vulnerable communities.
We certainly appreciate the gravity of the Covid-19 situation and are fully committed to assisting the government in every possible way to battle Covid-19 and stop the spread of the virus.
At the same time, we are concerned that there is a lack of appreciation as to just how many vulnerable communities are affected by the Movement Control Order and are having difficulties accessing basic necessities such as food.
These communities include the B40, urban and rural poor, Malaysians who have lost their income as a result of the MCO, the elderly, the housebound, the sick, orphans, orang asli, migrant workers, refugee communities, and many, many more.
It is hard to imagine that the government has a complete list of all the vulnerable communities that need assistance, and will be able to take over serving all these communities immediately.
The very suggestion of such overcentralisation suggests poor planning and a poor understanding of the plight of the poor.
NGOs do not exist to supersede the work of the government or to put the government in a bad light in any way. The concept of #KitaJagaKita is not meant to imply any failure on the part of the government – it only emphasizes the fact that the crisis is so bad, that all of us have a duty to care for one another.
We plead to the government to allow all NGOs that have been distributing food, medicine, and other aid to be allowed to continue doing so in a way that is safe and responsible, in full cooperation with the government, and in accordance with the health and safety guidelines of the government. We are certain NGOs involved will continue taking every required measure, including the consistent use of hand sanitizers and masks, social distancing, and the minimizing of the number of people involved.
This crisis is putting the lives of many, many vulnerable Malaysians at risk. We all need to come together and do our part, as a united nation.