Sept 9, 2008 By DERRICK VINESH
THE Penang government hopes to amend a state Welfare Department ruling to allow flood victims to apply for welfare aid despite not staying at flood relief centers.
State Health, Welfare and Caring Society Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said the ruling, which was inherited from the previous state administration, stated that victims should stay at flood relief centres before they could apply for aid. He said the ruling was outdated.
“It has been a longstanding problem faced by flood victims whenever they wanted to seek aid to help cope with their losses.
“We understand many of them do not want to stay at the relief centre as they fear their belongings in their houses could be looted by irresponsible people,” he said in an interview yesterday.
On Sunday, several flood victims from Kampung Permatang Tok Subuh, Bukit Minyak, were unhappy when officers from the Central Seberang Prai Welfare Department disallowed them from registering for aid.
Sharifah Samariah Syed Ahmad, 46, a businesswoman, said an officer prevented her from registering because she did not stay overnight on Saturday at the village’s temporary flood relief centre.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng assured the victims that all victims could apply for aid from the Yang di-Pertua Negri’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Phee said the welfare officers were merely following standard operating procedures to register only those who stayed at flood relief centers.
“Since Lim has asked for those who did not stay at the relief centers to be included in the list of flood victims, we will do the necessary as soon as possible,” he said.