THE Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry will be carrying out the Malaysia Food Bank programme nationwide starting January next year.
Its minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Malaysia Food Bank programme was launched following the success of Penang’s Mutiara Food Bank.
The Mutiara Food Bank programme in Penang was launched in May last year.
“If we can ‘duplicate’ what we did in Penang in every state, it would be great,” he said today.
Detailing the operations, Saifuddin said the food collected from contributors would be transported to the central kitchen for it to be reheated and packed before being distributed to the needy recipients on the same day.
“The location of the central kitchen is important to ensure the food quality is maintained,” he added.
Saifuddin also said that the ministry was drawing up a Bill to protect food contributors and recipients.
“We need to learn from countries like France, United States, Australia, Singapore and others, and incorporate the ideas with our own local reference.
“We hope to table it in Parliament at the end of next year,” he said.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said he was proud to represent Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to launch the Malaysia Food Bank programme in Penang.
“When Saifuddin proposed the Mutiara Food Bank idea to me last year, I immediately agreed and instructed the Penang State Secretary to mobilise all machinery to ensure the success of the programme.
“The Penang government also allocated RM600,000 back then to grow the programme.
“The success is evident. Mutiara Food Bank collected 321 tonnes of food since May 2017 until now, and the food has benefitted 31,429 recipients,” Lim said.
Lim thanked the volunteers and participants for making the programme a success.
He also read out the speech text of the Prime Minister.
“The Malaysia Food Bank programme, which will be led by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry, coincides with the Government’s intention to reduce financial burden of the people especially those in the B40 category.
“The Government has also agreed to launch the Malaysia Food Bank Foundation to ensure better management and implementation,” Mahathir said in his speech text.
Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Ahmad Zakiyuddin Abdul Rahman said the Penang government is committed to provide a balance development.
“The state’s welfare programmes, such as the AES (Agenda Ekonomi Saksama) and i-Sejahtera programmes, became ‘role model’ programmes to help the needy.
“Our Mutiara Food Bank programme has also grown through collaboration with strategic partners,” he said.
Ahmad Zakiyuddin was representing Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was currently away.
Also present were Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen, Deputy Agriculture and Agro-Based Minister Sim Tze Tzin, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs secretary-general Datuk Seri Jamil Salleh, and state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh.
Selangor princess Tengku Zatashah Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah attended the ceremony as a special guest.
Story by Christopher Tan
Pix by Alissala Thian