The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) has come under fire from Malaysians after it attempted to provide flood relief through the Food Bank Malaysia programme.
Recently, a TikTok video of an individual showing items in the flood aid package received from KPDNHEP had gone viral on social media, with netizens questioning the amount of aid given to the flood victims.
However, the ministry had denied such criticisms and said the flood aid packages given through the Food Bank Malaysia programme is a voluntary programme by the ministry and not an official government food aid programme.
In a statement, the ministry explained that such criticisms were not true and only intended to give the public a negative image of KPDNHEP and the government.
It explained that the programme channels aid through the collection of surplus food items and necessities from donors such as supermarkets, manufacturers, food operators and companies and did not involve any government allocations.
The Food Bank Malaysia programme was introduced in 2018 and it provides those affected by the enforcement of the Movement Control Order with food to enable them to survive through the lockdown.
In addition, the programme also aims to reduce wastage of useable surplus food produced by the retail industry.
Nonetheless, the ministry said these boxes were individual packs which are for immediate use and contained ready-to-eat food and basic necessities.
It added that other items, such as rice, sugar, flour, disposable diapers for babies and adults, as well as sanitary pads were prepared separately.
The ministry said it will also be preparing and distributing donations of rice, flour, cooking oil and dry goods for households, which are usually donated to flood victims after they return to their homes.
The ministry also said it had through the Food Bank Malaysia secretariat, distributed baskets of food and necessities to 3,230 households affected by floods since 19 December.