The bill to regulate food banks is aimed at ensuring more systematic implementation of related programmes and the continuous involvement of all strategic partners and stakeholders, according to Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
Saifuddin said the bill was drafted after taking into account the experiences of other countries which have implemented similar programmes.
“The first draft of the bill has been submitted to the Attorney-General's Chambers for review.
“We are not in a hurry, but we are quite confident that it can be tabled (in Parliament) by the end of this year,” he told reporters after opening the Seminar on Food Bank Malaysia in Putrajaya today.
Earlier in his speech, Saifuddin said the ministry had managed to secure the commitment of over 430 supermarkets nationwide to donate their food item surplus to Food Bank Malaysia, which was established in December last year.
He said the collected food items were then channelled to target groups by the ministry’s strategic partners, namely Food Aid Foundation, Kechara Soup Kitchen and Mutiara Food Bank.
The minister said that as of March this year, a total of 1,156 tonnes of food had been saved from being wasted, and 113,726 needy recipients had benefited from the initiative.
Saifuddin said the ministry was planning to expand the network by reaching out directly to more stakeholders in the food supply chain, such as farmers, manufacturers, restaurants and hotels, as their collective efforts could ensure the sustainability of food supply and future-proof Food Bank Malaysia.
“We should also start looking into generating donations by raising funds from the corporate sector. This is to strengthen the capabilities of Food Bank Malaysia so that we can help more people in the future,” he said.
On measures to curb food wastage during Ramadan, Saifuddin said food industry players had been advised to join the Food Bank initiative, as his ministry could share data on the recipients with them.
“According to the Solid Waste Management and Public Cleansing Corporation (SWCorp), about 15,000 tonnes of food is wasted daily and the amount rose to a terrifying level during Ramadan, the month where we should realise that there is a segment of a society who are struggling to get food,” he said.