No hanky-panky in food basket distribution in Sabah, says Masidi
Published on: Wednesday, September 22, 2021
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Kota Kinabalu: Sabah local government and housing minister Masidi Manjun (pictured) said the state government will lodge a police report if there are instances of irregularities in the distribution of food baskets to the people.

However, in replying to DAP’s Luyang assemblyman Phoong Jin Zhe, Masidi dismissed any instance of “misconduct” in relation to the state’s food assistance distribution programme.

Phoong had asked the value of food baskets given to the people, saying it cost RM434 to provide one basket when it should have been only about RM100. This is because only 115,000 families have benefited from the programme.

Masidi had earlier said the government had given out food assistance worth more than RM50 million so far, with an initial RM34.3 million spent followed by an additional RM15.7 million approved for the purpose.

“Why is it so expensive?” Phoong asked at the state assembly sitting today.

Masidi said the government took into account those who were left out earlier from the beneficiary list as well as other requests for assistance, besides food items.

“The opposition had made noise about people being left out so we took that into consideration and gave the additional allocation.

“In fact, we ended up paying more than we actually planned earlier. This is because when we go back to our constituencies, the situation is very sad. The people have lost their jobs and don’t have enough food,” he said.

He added another factor was that the prices of items in the state capital were different from those in other districts, particularly interior areas, where they were higher.

“But if there is any claim of irregularities, like the YB speculated, we are more than happy to lodge the police report together. No problem, we are very transparent I assure you,” Masidi said.

He said a total of 608,973 food baskets had been distributed thus far, adding that 116,208 out of the 157,863 baskets purchased under the additional RM15.7 million had been given out as of yesterday.

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