Occasion of CNY Gift Hampers for the Poor & Homeless Individuals
Speech by the Chief Minister of Penang YAB Tuan Chow Kon Yeow for the Occasion of CNY Gift Hampers for the Poor & Homeless Individuals
20 February 2022 @ 21A Codrington Avenue
YB Wong Hon Wai
MP for Bukit Bendera
Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Lawrence Cheah, President of Rose Charities Malaysia & spouse Datin Lily Cheah
Tan Sri Haji Mohd Yussof Latiff
Trustee & Adviser of Rose Charities Malaysia
Mr Kevin Lee
Honorary Patron of Rose Charities Malaysia
Dato’ Seri R.A. Arunasalam
President for the Council of Justices of the Peace, Penang
Committee members of Rose Charities
Representatives from the NGOs
Media Friends, Ladies & Gentlemen
A very good morning to all of you.
I am very happy to be here this morning for this truly meaningful programme organized by Rose Charities. Dato’ Lawrence Cheah’s invitation letter to me has this remarkable sentence which I will quote:
We shall overcome…said Martin Luther King…Whatsoever big an obstacle…the good Lord will open the path for both of them to walk along their journey to joy & happiness.
And right now, at this moment, we are indeed walking along this journey to provide joy and happiness to 1,000 poor and homeless individuals in our community. I thank and congratulate Rose Charities as well as your corporate partners for having successfully touched the hearts of the needy in our midst.
To my understanding, apart from the angpows that will be given out, each of the Chinese New Year gift hampers contain essential items like rice, cooking oil, beverages and medicated oil. These are everyday items which are not overly expensive or luxurious but sadly, they are beyond the reach of many in our community. This is especially true for those in the B40 group or daily wage earners whose income had been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past 2 years.
The Penang state government is aware of the plight of the B40 group and had channeled resources as much as we can to help them weather the storm. One of the initiatives is the Pakej Bantuan Rakyat Pulau Pinang which we provided in 3 phases and amounted to RM174.52 million that helped in reducing the financial burden of the at-risk families and vulnerable communities.
Moreover, the Mutiara Foodbank which is the first of its kind in the country and initiated by the Penang state government in 2017, has over the years, saved hundreds of tons of food from being wasted and delivered them to the needy. The Mutiara Foodbank is still operational today and we have never stopped on improving its delivery system in order to minimize wastage and to benefit more individuals who are in need.
When it comes to homelessness, a temporary transit shelter with a capacity of 88 beds will be operational by the middle of this year. It is located at Jalan C.Y. Choy and cost the Penang state government about RM4.9 million to set up, renovate and furnish the shelter.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Two days ago, on Friday (18.02.2022), I launched the collaboration between Penang Institute and UNICEF Malaysia which embarked on a “mixed-methods research project” to assess the impact of Covid-19 on children and women in low-income families in Penang, and to measure the effectiveness of our Covid-19 mitigation policies.
The state government is aware that a more informed delivery system must be built on previous experiences and how well policies were implemented during the previous two challenging years. The findings, new insights and policy recommendations of the research study on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of social welfare in Penang will be ready in August this year. I am confident that the final report will aid in the critical task of developing a reliable welfare system in Penang for streamlining aid to low-income families in times of crisis.
Ladies & Gentlemen,
My wife Lean Kee, was here at this very same premises on 8 May 2021 when she represented me for the launching of the “Feed the Homeless & B40 Food Aid Appeal Campaign”. In her speech then, she said:
The Covid-19 pandemic has thoroughly affected our lives and livelihood but it failed to make us less human towards one another in times of calamity.
On the contrary, it made us more sensitive to the plight of our neighbour, more sympathetic to a friend who lost his/her job and more compassionate for a fellow human being who fell sick or died due to Covid-19.
It enabled us to know better of our inner-self and allowed values which we thought we never had to reveal themselves as we find strength in rebuilding our lives and renewing our faith towards a now delicate humanity.
I am glad we all succeeded in doing that through our combined efforts this morning.
Thank you very much.