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Should Charity Aid Groups Be Considered Frontliners And Be Exempt From MCO?

Should Charity Aid Groups Be Considered Frontliners And Be Exempt From MCO?

Anne Dorall
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Ever since the movement control order (MCO), the most vulnerable members of our society have been uncertain of their future.

Charities, particularly those who provide aid to the homeless, have reported that many have not eaten for days. In the early days of the MCO, these charities and food banks were still able to do generous volunteering work to provide food.

Many group-led and individual-volunteered activism sought to deliver food, groceries, and other essentials to households that could not get essentials on their own.

However, as the police becomes more stringent with the lockdown, aid organisations find that they no longer have the accessibility to continue.

Police are now enforcing the MCO.
(Credit: Malay Mail)

Putrajaya recently announced that aid organisations will no longer be allowed to send food to needy households, such as orphanages, single-parent families, and elderly homes.

Instead, the government recommended that all aid supplies should be sent to government departments and agencies such as the Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat that will then redistribute the supplies. This is in an effort to limit individual movement.

Today, 127 NGOs responded that their work should be allowed to continue.

The organisations do not trust the government to have a full list of all the vulnerable communities in need of assistance, since many of these people are those who have fallen through the cracks.

The NGOs have taken every measure to ensure that they are staying safe during their charitable activities, such as consistent using of masks and hand sanitizers, social distancing, and minimising the number of people involved.

DAP Socialist Youth chief Howard Lee agrees, saying that these NGO volunteers should be recognized as frontliners as well.

In terms of safety, Howard Lee has suggested a compromise: to continue with their activism work, but allow for the requirement of a Civil Defense Force (APM) or a People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) member to accompany the groups.

However, the Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has stood firm on the decision. While the government was grateful for the NGOs’ eagerness to help out, health authorities have advised that they stop doing so to reduce any risk of unnecessary exposure.


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