Single mums in dilemma as govt aid ‘misdirected’

It’s been two months since the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) was introduced, but single mums and families in the B40 group are still enduring the financial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joanne Melissa Wong, programme manager and acting case manager at Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), said although the government has given plenty of aid, not all of it reached the targeted group.

“Many single mums in the B40 group are struggling to make ends meet as they lost their jobs,” said Wong.

“I have a client whose landlord wanted to throw her out as she hadn’t paid rent for two months.

“Another didn’t receive the aid from the government as the money went to her husband, whom she is separated from – similar to the story Charles Santiago (Klang MP) highlighted.”

Earlier today, Santiago raised the issue of how a middle-aged woman with five children told him she had to starve as the assistance from the government was channelled to her husband who is the head of the family.

The couple is separated and the husband didn’t contribute any of the RM1,600 towards the family.

“Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case,” lamented Wong.

“It takes up to two years for a divorce to be finalised and in that time, the husband is considered the head of the household.

“Several women whom we are interacting with are in this situation. They are separated but the aid goes to their husband.”

Another hurdle is that some single mothers from the B40 group are illiterate and as such, have difficulty filling up the forms to get aid.

“There are also those who can’t afford gadgets like mobile phones or computers which they need to access the forms.

“Some may have smartphones but with limited or no data and limited memory space.

“I helped one mother, who had to use the Wi-Fi from a store, to send me her details. Her phone memory was so small, after sending me a picture of her MyKad, she had to erase it so she could take photos of her children’s MyKid.”

Wong said the government should set up a mobile unit or bilik gerakan to help these people.

She said it is even worse for foreign wives who are separated or divorced.

“They have no avenue to turn to even though their children have MyKid cards.

“The children can get aid after they turn 12 but younger children need the aid more as it is not cheap to buy milk powder and diapers,” said Wong.

She added Selangor’s Health, Welfare, Women Empowerment and Family Committee chairman Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud has been a big supporter of the cause.

“With her help, we managed to channel some assistance to many single mums – local and foreign – from the B40 group.”

Here’s the round-up of The News Normal.

THREE DISTRICTS IN KEDAH UNDER TEMCO

The government will impose a targeted enhanced movement control order (TEMCO) in Aman Jaya, Kedah, from midnight.

It will affect 22,360 residents in three districts – Kenanga, Mawar and Melur.

During TEMCO, operation hours of essential services such as eateries, stalls, sundry shops and petrol stations are limited – from 8am to 8pm.

BAM MAY NOT HOST THIS YEAR’S MALAYSIA OPEN

The BA of Malaysia (BAM) is reluctant to host the Malaysia Open in November as it will be a costly affair.

BAM secretary-general Datuk Kenny Goh, however, said a decision will be made jointly with the World Badminton Federation (BWF) as it is a global event.

CLOSE BY MIDNIGHT, BUSINESSES WARNED

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has reminded business owners they can only operate until midnight during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period.

He said he has received reports of business premises operating around the clock, a clear violation of the law and warned authorities will take action.

He said only clinics and hospitals are allowed to operate for 24 hours.

Meanwhile, five new Covid-19 cases were reported today bringing the total confirmed cases to 9,296.

GET YOUR FIGURES RIGHT

Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the Pakatan Harapan government only spent RM352 million for direct negotiation projects and not RM6.61 billion as alleged.

He revealed of the 101 direct negotiation projects, RM6.258 billion worth were projects inherited from the Barisan Nasional administration.