KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — Individuals from non-government organisations (NGOs) may risk contracting coronavirus by supplying food and aid directly to beneficiaries, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said today.
Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said such volunteers may have good intentions, but movement control must be increased during the nationwide Movement Control Order (MCO).
“If under that MCO, NGOs are free to mix or go down to the field and meet people, there might be a risk to that NGO,” Dr Noor Hisham told a press conference.
“We must coordinate the control, how can we help the NGOs through a centralised system,” he said, adding that food distribution was not under MOH, but the National Security Council (NSC).
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday that the government was banning NGOs from sending food and aid supplies to beneficiaries directly to protect them from Covid-19 infection.
He also indicated that food assistance worth RM5.8 million would be distributed through the government machinery, specifically the Welfare Department, to those who qualify.
A total of 127 NGOs and charities have made an appeal to the government to reconsider the directive and allow them to work. They felt that the government might be underestimating the effort needed to take over the existing assistance provided by the NGOs.
Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said earlier today that NGOs are prohibited from giving aid to the needy in the federal territories without consulting the federal territories crisis management centre.
The Malaysian Insight quoted Annuar as saying in a press conference that the crisis management centre in Jalan Tun Razak here is the focal point for civil society groups that want to deliver aid in the capital city.