A total of 38 Sabah assemblyperson received an allocation of RM100,000 each to help the underprivileged in their respective constituencies through the Special Assistance for the Needy 2019 programme.
State health and people's wellbeing minister Wong Tien Fatt said the special aid, which was considered an outright grant, could be used to reduce the people’s burden, including victims of disasters or accidents, deaths, chronic patients and to repair damaged homes.
He said the RM3.8 million allocation, which was approved by the Finance Ministry, would be credited into the account of every state assemblyperson after the signing of a pledge to ensure that the aid will be distributed directly to targeted groups according to criteria and in compliance with the stipulated procedures.
“We are not quietly using the allocation because we want to be open and transparent. The allocation will be audited, and there is a guideline on how it can be used. Each state assemblyperson cannot use it for personal gain.
“The expenditure report must be prepared every three months and sent to the Social Welfare Department, as it is required to submit a report to the Rural Development Ministry every six months,” he told reporters after the handing-over ceremony of the letter of pledge in Kota Kinabalu today.
Stephen said each state assemblyperson would have to distribute the aid according to the type and rate specified, which was RM200 for victims of disasters, accidents and deaths, and RM500 for chronic patients and people who needed assistance to repair their homes damaged in disasters.
However, he said, each elected representative could approve other aid deemed reasonable, but not exceeding the specified rates, and all applicants must be Malaysian citizens living in Sabah who were needy or afflicted.
“They must also prepare a record book to list all the applications and decisions (approvals) so that the allocations can be monitored,” he said.
The allocation is expected to help ease the burden as well as increase the people’s expectations of their state assemblypersons, apart from helping the relevant ministries and departments to meet the needs of the grassroots, he said.