16 May UPDATE ON PJ OLD TOWN FOOD DISTRIBUTION EFFORT
Following the announcement of the Enhanced Movement Order (EMCO) at PJ Old Town, my office has been working around the clock to help the authorities especially the Welfare Department (JKM) to aid residents affected by the EMCO.
Within the first 12 hours of the EMCO, we managed to provide our first batch of essential supplies to residents with the help of JKM and RELA. We provided each household with 12 items including packets of rice, canned items, milk, bihun, instant noodles, and cooking oil.
These items were purchased using funds my office had collected from the public during our fundraising campaign for struggling families affected by the Covid 19 lockdown. However, in addition to this we also received donations from sponsors including from UNHCR, Imaret, Sin Chew foundation, Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, Hasanah Foundation and Our Journey. The donations had come only within a few hours after the call was made.
Volunteers from the local Old Town Rukun Tetangga, JKM, and NGOs EPIC and Childline also quickly helped us to pack the items to be distributed to the residents as well as migrants and refugees.
Since then my office has also been coordinating with Adun Bukit Gasing Rajiv Rishyakaran, Adun Taman Medan Ustaz Syamsul Firdaus and MBPJ Councilor Pn Ermeemarianna to regularly distribute fresh food including meat, fish and vegetables to affected residents and migrants since the EMCO began this week. Collectively our distribution has been reaching a total of 620 households (250 in Section 2 and 370 in Sections 3 & 4)
So far, my office has distributed food three (3) times with our next distribution date on Tuesday, 19 May, where we will be giving out fresh chicken and vegetables to residents. Working together with JKM, bread and kaya will be distributed to residents on Saturday. YB Hee Loy Siang has also generously contributed instant noodles and bread. Distribution is done by JKM, the Civil Defence Force and RELA and will continue to be delivered in stages over the next week.
However, we have discovered that some of the PJ Old Town residents especially those in their 80s and 90s have been depending on nearby shops and family living elsewhere for their daily meals as they cannot cook for themselves. They often live in cramped conditions with sometimes as many as 15 elderly individuals occupying a single building. Some buildings are also dilapidated and do not have cooking facilities.
Many of the Old Town community, in particular those not affected by the EMCO have reached out to us to help these individuals.
As a result of this, we have been working to provide cooked meals (lunch and dinner) to elderly individuals who cannot cook. YB Rajiv and Old Town Rukun Tetangga have been delivering cooked meals to 20 individuals in Section 2 while my office has teamed up with Masala Wheels to provide 45 individuals in Sections 3 and 4 with their meals. We will continue to provide cooked meals for as long as Old Town is paced under the EMCO.
As we move into the second week of the EMCO in PJ Old Town, more than 2000 residents out of a total of 2900 have been tested for Covid-19. Hopefully as we start to get the results of the Covid-19 testing, we will see the EMCO in the area coming to an end soon.
I again urge the authorities to also test migrants and refugees, regardless of their status. Over the past few weeks, we have seen an alarming trend of migrants being rounded up and detained. This includes the raids at foreign worker enclaves at the KL Wholesale Market, Selayang (11 May) and Jalan Masjid India (1 May). Meanwhile following the announcement of the semi-EMCO at Pudu recently, there is also fear that the large migrant community there would also be rounded up. The Alliance of Chin Refugees has estimated a total of 300 members of the Chin community alone are living in the affected lockdown area.
Now is not the right time to be going after migrants, including children, by rounding them up or detaining them. If this carries on, we will see more and more refugees not wanting to seek help from the authorities as they fear being detained once tested positive, or even negative, for Covid-19. What the authorities should be doing instead is to encourage them to come forward to be tested without fear. They are, after all, our invited guests and have helped us build our economy. Respect their rights and freedom.
Today (May 16) is the International Day of Living Together in Peace and to celebrate, there is an online campaign calling for a world without violence towards refugees and migrants. The ‘Another Way Is Possible’ campaign, will held from 3-5 p.m. today, and I urge all to join this campaign to show our support and solidarity with migrants and refugees by using the hashtag #MigranJugaManusia on social media ie. Twitter, Facebook, TikTok or Instagram. This crisis goes beyond just you and me, it involves all of us.
MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH
PETALING JAYA MP