Monday, September 27

Federation proposes structured social benefits system in recognition of volunteers’ contributions

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Dato Richard Wee – File photo

KUCHING: The Federation of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions Chinese Associations will propose to Sarawak government a structured social benefits system in recognition of volunteers’ contributions.

Its president Dato Richard Wee said although volunteers rendered time and efforts towards a good cause without expecting rewards in return, the state government could offer some form of benefits to them to recognise their works done to the society.

According to him, volunteers serve the community out of free will and for a cause that they believe in, and almost none has asked for something in return.

“It would be good for the state government to recognise their contributions by giving them some social benefits by the number of hours they serve,” he told The Borneo Post here today.

He said the idea of structured social benefits system for volunteers struck him following the encouraging responses the federation received during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period ended May 12.

During the MCO period, the federation set up a disaster management committee, which was run by a group of volunteers to reach out to individuals in need.

Wee said this group of volunteers came forward during the MCO when they were not required to go to work.

He, however, pointed out that there were volunteers who despite their hectic schedule and life remained committed to giving back to the society.

“There are people who have been contributing to a cause they believe in, such as those with Sarawak Children’s Cancer Society and Sarawak Cheshire Home.

“These volunteers ask for no salary, no allowance as they do it out of passion,” he noted.

According to Wee, the Taiwanese government has a structured system to recognise the contributions of volunteers there.

He felt that the Sarawak government could pick up the system from its Taiwanese counterpart to promote the culture of volunteerism in the state.

In Sarawak, he said while the state government is offering Kenyalang Gold Card (KGC) to senior citizens, the same card could be extended to benefit volunteers with a certain level of contribution to the society.

“In our state, only after serving some 30 or 40 years, then you get a ‘pingat emas’ (gold media). Why don’t we learn from Taiwan? Modify the system to meet the local needs.

“The state government can select 100 organisations such as the Single Mother’s Association, Home for the Aged or Salvation Army to benefit from the structured system,” he added.

He said he had verbally brought up the proposal to Minister of Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah during the distribution of food aid earlier.

He said the minister had commended the proposal as a good idea.

Wee said the Sarawak government could plan a study tour to Taiwan to find out more about the structured social benefits system for volunteers.

“Our federation has a plan to bring 30 to 40 volunteers to visit three charitable organisations in Taiwan to study the volunteerism system, after this (Covid-19) pandemic is over,” he added.