Uncertain fate for over 100 welfare aid recipients
KINABALU, Aug 19, 2011: SAPP claims it has gathered evidence of over
100 recipients of the Federal-funded Old Age Assistance Scheme (BOT)
and Assistance for Disabled Persons (OKUs) who have been left, in limbo
over the payments.
"After Daily Express highlighted the cases recently, we followed up
with the department (State Public Welfare Services Department) on the
status of 141 people from Penampang and Luyang who applied before 2009,
of whom 24 were approved and the rest (117) had no replies until today"
Sabah Progressive Party Vice-President Melanie Chia Chui Ket told a
press conference, Thursday.
She showed the list to the media at the party's headquarters in Luyang,
here, saying it was in a written reply dated October 2009 from the
Deparbment via email.
"'According to the reply, of the 141 applicants, 14 were already
receiving welfare. Then we confirmed that there were an additional 10
people who were approved, making a total of 24 recipients.
"The rest (117) had no replies except for the remark akan disiasat
(will be investigated) or masih disiasat (still under investigation) in
"From 2008 and even earlier, my office had submitted applications from
time to time. Subsequently, I inquired over the phone or wrote in but
we got a reply only in October 2009," she said.
According to Chia, two of the remaining 117 applicants had passed away
without actually getting any approval. They were Chong Chee Nee @ Chong
Lee Foh (born in 1948) and Lim Siow Tang (born in 1926) who lived in
"Another applicant, Chin Nyuk Len @ Ellen, now 72, applied in 2003 but
has yet to get a reply. The remark was Akan disiasat (will be
investigated) in the October 2009 list," she said.
One Miss Hiew, 42, from Luyang, who is unable to work following a
stroke, applied for assistance in 2001 but has yet to receive a reply,
according to Chia (not in the list of 141 applicants).
"The issue is that if an applicant has a house, he or she is not
qualified, But in urban areas, a lot of elderly people stay with their
sons (who have families of their own) or relatives. The house does not
belong to the applicants," she said.
Chia felt that needy people should not be shortchanged anymore.
"With technology and update of skills, this problem should be
non-existent. If they cau put in place a proper management system for
the Federal-funded Old Age Assistance (BOT) and Assistance for Disabled
Persons (OKUs), it can also take away the doubt on any pilferage and
She said her office, in particular the Luyang Constituency Liaison
Committee, has acted as a "bridge" to make it easier for the people in
dealing with welfare aid applications.
"We have provided and are still providing the necessary services to old
folks and needy groups. As far as welfare cases are concerned, we have
sometimes sent them to the Welfare Office to collect the application
forms and helped to fill them," she said.
"We are not saying the Government is not doing anything. And neither
are we just making noise as claimed by the Government. We are
constructive here," she said.
SAPP Member of Parliament for Tawau, Datuk Chua Soon Bui, also received
complaints from recipients there who have not received their BOT or OKU
aid from May to July this year.
"In handling hundreds of cases in Tawau, I have actually gone to the
people's homes to look at the situation myself. Many of them are very
poor and have no food in the kitchen, but are not getting help.
"I took the trouble to visit and take photographs of these people's
living conditions and forwarded them to the Deputy Minister of Women,
Family & Community, Senator Heng Seai Kie. I have been doing that since
2008. I even wrote to her to say there should be no more excuse like
the address tidak dapat dikesan (cannot be traced). Come to my
office," she said.
Chua said she has contacted Senator Heng regarding the cases.
"She told me there are 72,500 recipients in Sabah. And based on the
Sabah report, 129 people did not get their aid in May, and likewise,
114 in June this year, the reason being that their accounts were not
active, especially the new cases.
"They are going to fine-tune to activate the accounts. But from the
ground, the complaints I received are not specifically related to just
one district. It seems that the situation is all over Sabah. So if the
report given to me is correct, then where did the money go for May up
to now?" she queried.
Chia, meanwhile, sought clarification from Heng on what the latter
meant by "the accounts are not active". "Is it because the recipients
have passed away? How can you have accounts not active when money is
supposed to be banked in?"
Chua contended that any welfare assistance fund has been budgeted by
the Prime Minister in the Parliament, so they (welfare authorities)
should be accountable.
"It's the people's right to receive the money and not being held. Every
time there is a delay, the Ministry or department concerned should
Some forced to check repeatedly
"In the cases that we (SAPP) have encountered, they have to go to the
department repeatedly, sometimes a few times in a month to check on
their welfare aid."
The party is also alarmed over the report by the Barisan Nasional (BN)
Member of Parliament from Labuan that some of the e-kasih recipients
are IMM13 holders (Filipinos).
"From my side, we also have submitted a lot of e-kasih applications.
But it seems that there is a lot of ‘double standard' in approving,
their reason being that the address tidak dapat dikesan (address is not
In the Sabah context, Chua said unfortunately, in the rural areas,
there is no institutionalisation on addresses.
"For example, even in the I.C., the address is stated at Kg Rangu but
there is no House Number. However, if the application for welfare aid
is signed by me as the people's elected representative, they
(department) should come back to me if they can't find the applicant."
The MP claimed that a lot of assistance through e-kasih registration
was not reaching the people.
"So how does the Government ensure that the poverty rate is going to be
reduced if the basic assistance fund is not channeled to the needy?"
SAPP Youth Executive Committee, John Stephen, urged the Government to
review the policy, criterion and strircture of the Federal-funded Old
Age and OKU Assistance Schemes.
"The slow process is burdening the old and needy and this should be
minimised. With modern technology, why don't the Government synchronise
the system to improve efficiency? We believe many people are qualified
and eligible for welfare assistance but they are deprived of the
Given the cument state of affairs, SAPP said its Wanita and Youth
Movements would consider a campaign to assist applicants of welfare
Senior citizens, needy and disabled persons whose applications have
been approved but have not received the aid for the past few months or
those who have yet to apply are advised to approach SAPP Wanita or
Youth at the party's headquarters in Luyang, Kota Kinabalu.
"We, Wanita, Youth and CLC (Constituency Liaison Committee) Network,
are going to thrash it out. A lot of the OKUs rely on welfare aid for
subsistence. Maybe to the top people, $300 is not a lot of money but to
the recipients, it is their bread and butter," said Tawau MP Chua.
Chia cited the case of Siaw Chee Yin @ Francis Siaw, 61, of No. 57,
Jalan Pantai, KK, (not in the list of 141 applicants) who is in
crutches after a fall some years ago. The party had helped him to apply
for OKU aid amounting to RM150 per month but it was stopped in July
last year, forcing him to run a food stall for survival. His wife Chin
Nyuk Yin, 57, is a cencer survivor. Siaw's aid was reinstated in April
this year, which was only learned a few year ago.
According to Chia, Chin is equally eligible for aid but she doesn't
receive it because of the rule that only either of a couple can get
"Rules are made by man but we must have some degree of emotional
intelligence when dealing with disadvantaged groups.
"When i met Francis early this year, he complained to me about the
discontinuation in July last year. Then we informed the Welfare Office
about it. Knowing this is a needy case, why did the department stop the
aid? And had we not called, would his case have been re-validated?
"When he came to the SAPP Headquarters three days ago, we called up the
Welfare Office again, and the officer said, Oh, Sudah dilulus. Kenapa
dia tidak datang (Oh, already approved. Why didn't he come?)," she told
"But why didn't they (department) inform Francis that it was approved
in April? Look for him. The problem with the department is that they
always wait for people to go there.
"But the needy, old people and OKUs can't go there themselves because
they need others to send them to the office. The department cannot say
they can't reach out to them. For example, I could reach Francis. He
has a hand phone number."
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