Help the needy with more programmes and facilities
By Jude Toyat
Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development Datuk Fatimah Abdullah urged more individuals, volunteers, charity and welfare organisations as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Sarawak to implement more programmes and activities to help the needy.
She was speaking at the ‘Sponsor-A-Meal’ luncheon held at Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites here on July 25.
“Although Sarawak is making more progress in terms of development, economy, education and so on, we have to accept the fact that the disabled and the poor will always be a part of any society, no matter how advanced our society is.
“And because of that, the programmes and activities carried out either by the government or non-governmental organisations to assist the disadvantaged and needy are very much appreciated,” she said.
Fatimah disclosed that between January and May this year, a total of 1,276 disabled people (OKU) in Sarawak were registered from various categories including the visually impaired, deaf and speech-impaired, hearing and speech-impaired, those with learning difficulties or disabilities, and multiple disabilities.
From 2007 to present, a total of 31, 679 disabled people in Sarawak were registered.
She stressed that education was an important focus in helping the disabled because it enables them to change their future.
“The government has provided various educational facilities to the disabled people, including pre-schools,” she added.
In Sarawak, there are 11 pre-schools, 113 primary schools, and 45 secondary schools that cater to the disabled people.
“We need to ensure that our children especially those who are disabled, are given the opportunity to get an education and to have equal rights to education just like any other children,” she explained.
As for the poor, those with household income less than RM930 per month can also be registered.
“Through the database, the government can provide assistance, including building or rebuild of houses.
“There are also educational facilities such as the Tabung Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin (KWAPM) as well as other assistance,” she explained.
Therefore, she hopes that NGOs and grassroots leaders can help the government to disseminate information to enable them to register the disabled and poor people so that they will be given appropriate assistance.
“We would like the needy, disadvantaged and poor people in our society to feel that they can lead a meaningful and dignified life just like the rest of us, that is really important,” she said adding that the luncheon would be a memorable occasion for the disadvantaged and needy.
Initiated in 2015, the ‘Sponsor-A-Meal’ event is in line with Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites’ Corporate Social Responsibility slogan, ‘Giving is Living’.
The Corporate Social Responsibility programme is based on the Suspended Meal concept in which people pay in advance for a meal to be provided to those in need.
Merdeka Palace Hotel and Suites is the first hotel in Malaysia to organise a meal session for those in need based on the Suspended Meal concept.
The first Sponsor-A-Meal session was made possible by the guests who contributed by purchasing a voucher worth RM10 to sponsor a meal. Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites topped up RM10 for each voucher purchased to make up the total amount of RM20 to sponsor a meal for the needy.
It is an ongoing project and everyone is welcome to contribute. The hotel targets to serve another 100 of those in needs in the next meal session.
For further inquiries regarding their Sponsor-A-Meal project, call 082-258000.
During the meal session, a series of entertainment were also presented by The Evergreen, CatsFM, and Danish Mubin Euroasia Association of Performing Art. The hotel management, staffs, and a clown were also present to interact and serve the needy.
Ayam Champion Food Sdn Bhd, Supermain, and House of Flower & Gifts had also lent a hand in making this first meal session a success.
Also present were Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites hotel manager Mark Ferguson, Social Welfare Council of Sarawak president Joan Irene Yong and representatives from Sarawak Hun Nam Sian T’ng, Lembaga Kebajikan Anak-Anak Yatim Sarawak, Community Based Rehabilitation Centre Kuching, Sarawak Association for the Welfare of Intellectually Disabled Children (Perkata), Sarawak Society for Parents of Children with Special Needs (Pibakat), Green Ribbon Association of Kuching, Mental Health Association of Sarawak, Single Mother’s Association of Sarawak, Sarawak Society for the Blind, and Malaysian Leprosy Relief Association.