SIBU: A total of 1,726 people here received the ‘Bouquet of Love’ aid from the Social Welfare Department on Wednesday.
Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah handed out the aid at the civic centre.
Lanang MP Datuk Tiong Thai King, Temenggong Vincent Lau Lee Ming, and Temenggong Datuk Wan Hamid Edruce were among those who witnessed the occasion.
Addressing the recipients, Fatimah said the yearly programme was to assist the needy, financially-disadvantaged and poor during festive seasons.
“We give not only during the Chinese New Year, but also Gawai and Hari Raya.Our welfare aid is not only for one race, but all Malaysians regardless of race and religion,” she pointed out.
According to her, the ‘Bouquet of Love’ includes RM50 cash, a hamper worth RM30 comprising ‘Kuih Kapit’ (Love Letters), festive biscuits, potato chips and mandarin oranges.
“We know there are many needy out there who have yet to receive assistance and we will continue to find them,” she said.
She urged non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to cooperate with the department in the effort. The public can also inform the department of needy people who had yet to receive help.
“We must be quick in responding to their plight,” she said.
A total of 6,582 people throughout the state are expected to get the aid this time around.
Last year, the department channelled about RM136 million in monthly assistance to 51,157 people throughout the state.
In Sibu alone, 9,059 people got the monthly aid involving RM24 million last year, she disclosed.
Lau in his speech praised the government for caring for the people. He said CNY was an important event for the Chinese, and there were those unable to celebrate due to financial constraint.
“Our government has not forgotten them,” he said.
Tiong said the Barisan Nasional Government was caring, and asked the people to continue supporting it.
“Our government might not be perfect but is becoming better year after year,” he added.