Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Welfare Woes

No Milk Today
Pi Bani, a blog sister, writes about her work with HIV patients. Hers is one of the most inspiring stories I have had the privilege of following.
In my book, she is indeed a wonderful, a selfless human being.
I was drawn to one particular posting about the hardship faced by two women, made worse by the delayed disbursement of their allowances by the welfare department.
This is not an unfamiliar tale. It has been told many times over, for God-knows how long.
These are the poor and the needy who depend on welfare staff members every month to give them their allowance.
I don't know whether the government servants handling welfare cases are indifferent or uncaring or both. Perhaps the delay in giving the money is genuine, due to problems beyond their control.
Whether or not it is, what is clear is the unkind treatment these people are getting from welfare staff.
One of the women had been waiting for news (of her application for allowance) that never came. The other - a mother of two - was to have received her allowance of RM115. That was on April 5. Let's hope by now, she would have already received the money.
Both were offered such shamelessly lame excuse by the welfare department staff.
The women need money to buy milk for their babies, and to live.
This is an excerpt of Pi Bani's posting, "More House Visits, More Welfare Woes":

"As expected, Yah too ran out of milk powder for her baby, so she had no choice but to buy
some using the RM160 she gets monthly courtesy of MAC.
I asked if there was any news from the Welfare Department as she had already submitted her
application personally in early January. Yah said since she did not receive any news from
them, she went to the welfare office again some time in February to follow up. Guess what??
she was told they never received her application. Oh dear… then what on earth was she doing
in their office in January? Paying them a courtesy visit?!

Yah had no choice but to submit a new application. I asked her for the name of the officer in
charge and promised her I’d try to follow up on the matter. I also promised her I’ll try to visit
her next weekend as I’ll be away elsewhere this weekend.

.... Fuzi’s application for welfare aid had already been approved (of RM115 a month) and she
had already received some money in February – handed over by hand.
The welfare officers then asked her to open up a bank account so that future financial aid
beginning March can be banked in direct. Bank account done in February, and account
number submitted to welfare department immediately.

But yesterday was already the 5th of April, and according to Fuzi she has gone to the bank to
check, but her financial aid for March was not in yet. Again, I promised Fuzi I’d try to follow
up on the matter."


Read the full story here.

17 comments:

Pi Bani said...

Just a little bit of correction. The woman getting the RM115 monthly is actually a mother of 5! The 2 names mentioned in my posting are the eldest and the youngest. There are 3 more in between. That makes it worst, doesn't it? RM115 to feed 5 children...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Pi,

thank you for the prompt notice. I will leave it at that and allow the visitors (to this posting) to read the correction you have made.

This is really so awful. RM115 and it' like they are begging for gold.

I am full of keinsafan when i get to know of the plight of these women.

how terrible it is that we are in the 21st century and this sort of inept bureaucratic administration still persists in our civil service.

i remember our PM promising better service but obviously welfare departments are excluded.

Kata Tak Nak said...

Wow, RM115 a month. What do they do with the balance? I am sure they are saving to go to Disneyland. The sufferer plus 5 children makes 6 dependents and divide that you get about 65 sen per day per person. Wow such a huge amount. I tell you the gov is pampering this people too much. I don't think even the ministers make that much.

Rajahram said...

Nuraina,if this is not public delivery,I do not know what is! Would like to hear more such rakyat stories.Thank you.

Apandi said...

The delivery system is such because the person behind that system does not have pride in what they do. They are behind the counters or whatever just to earn a salary. I noticed that in more developed nation (not just economically but more culturally), even the street cleaners have pride in their job. Here ? Complete your education (get as much A as possible) go to interview to get a job. No thoughts abour careers, just get a monthly salary. Very few are blessed with choice careers. So, I believe they are hardened, its just another form to process and get out of the way before lunch or punch out or whatever. Never saw the person...

NURAINA A SAMAD said...

Kata Tak Nak:
it is so huge an amount that I wanna just cry!
KTN, i am unable to understand why there has been little improvement in the delivery system in the welfare departments.
surely by now, a system to disburse monies for welfare recipients should already be in place.
what could so difficult, i wonder. do we have millions of welfare recipients.
I know we do not want to risk being a welfare state but why should we worry about that? just help those who need help.

apandi: kerja tu kan satu ibadah! i am saying this because many of the Musim female civil servants don the tudung/telekung, especially in the welfare depts. therefore, shouldnt they be subscribing to this basic teaching of Islam, at the least.. Doesnt take much from a person, to just do a job well.
it is not that they are doing that for free.

Rajahram: i think this is the psychology of people. when they know they can bully, they do.

the Razzler said...

Kak Ena ..

This is really, really sad!!

Similarly, the devastating flood that hit Johore last year ... Well, people at my hometown were told to fill up more forms for the aids just last week .. but the quantum & monies, bila nak dapat pun tak tahu!!

I guess we are at their disposal & mercy when you require aids. It really hurts that its as though we are begging for alms .. :( :(

We are just human & we have our pride, too!!

I pray & hope that our fellow Malaysians who are responsible at the welfare Dept. will carry out their duties with their heart!!

Rocky's Bru said...

Not much has improved since the days I was at the Malay Mail. There were always the Welfare officials who took their responsibilities seriously, but the general image of the Welfare dept sorely needs an overhaul.

Shahrizat, the minister of women, family and community is basically in charge. she is trying hard, i'm sure. but i would like to suggest that we bring back a dedicated Welfare ministry to deal with the general welfare of the small people. i believe crises that affect the well-being of the population, such as the johor floods last year, could have been better handled if we have a dedicated ministry in charge of the people's welfare. even the pm's escape to perth to open the nasi kandar restraurant then would have not caused as much heartache if people new that their welfare was in good hands.

elviza said...

Dearest Kak Ena & Pi Bani,

This morning I got slap on my face. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am and keep complaining about things I dont have.

I have a son around the same age, 11 month old. He has a lot of food in the stock, can i give some. How do I give a little money to help them along?

Hi&Lo said...

It's no shame or loss of dignity to be in need.

In other countries, their govts tax their citizens but give back to them when they are unable to earn a living.

The amounts are not mere token but sufficient to maintain a decent living.

In Malaysia, it's the reverse. The politically well-connected receive handouts with both eyes close so much so their jetset lifestyle is perverted.

Nuraina, I join you in saluting Sis Pi Bani for her sense of responsibility to the oppressed.

Sis Pi Bani, may you be blessed with joy and strength in the work you are doing.

Ordinary Superhero said...

My heart bleeds.

raden galoh said...

So, so sad, really! What can you buy with RM115 nowadays? Or how to spend it wisely?

I don't know if the officers really understand the word 'empathy'? If they do, they would imagine the pain and understand the difficulties to survive with rm115 a month!

The Ancient Mariner said...

What are the states doing with the zakat money? But I suppose with HIV then its a no-no, so perhaps a change in the mindset is necessary.

MarinaM said...

Oh forget about zakat! We've had people with HIV who asked the zakat department for money just for bus fare to go to hospital for their check-ups. They get scolded first for getting infected in the first place. To get measly bus fare, you have to endure being scolded and called all sorts of names.That's the kind people at zakat.

Apandi said...

Yes, kerja tu satu ibadah - for those whose conscience are not burdened by worldly things. The whole system is corrupt, thats why.

Zakat ? I just took consolation with the fact that I abide by it as decreed by the Ulul Umri (did I get that right?). There's too much red tape and bureaucracy in its delivery. Case in point, a friend in the forces involved in the recent floods of Kota Tinggi noted the glaring abscense of Baitulmal or other Islamic organisation coming with aid. Comparatively, the Buddhist came with trucks of supplies. Camana tu ?

Idin said...

why would these things fall out of the administration radar screen? isn't it a very straight forward KPI - remit allowance by certain of the month, electronically. or signatories busy signing other remittance to other account? Oooo.... i'm being buruk sangka here. But can't help that nasty thots to flash into my mind.

Ibu Idin ( laaa ... )

Anonymous said...

If you have checked the PPZ website lately you will find almost all references to zakat in terms of collection only. No references (that I can find) as to where the money went.

An old report (http://pkukmweb.ukm.my/~hairun/
kertas%20kerja/Prestasi%20Pendapatan%20
dan%20Perbelanjaan%20Zakat.pdf) by the Fakulti Ekonomy UKM reveals some interesting things, e.g. over a 10-year (1990 - 2001) period RM 561M was collected in Kedah, Perak, Selangor and N.S. but only RM 435M was paid out. Also, in Perak, RM 2.6M was paid to "amil" and RM 7.4M to "fakir dan miskin". Surely many of the "amils" have other jobs?

Perhaps it is time to question just where all that zakat money is going, who determines and how it is determined. And why is there a RM 125M difference? FD? (and that was as of 2001).

This ambiguity is one reason why we do not pay zakat thru baitulmal but prefer to donate directly. Zero red tape and bureaucracy and we know where the money is going.