Malaysia: Help available for those who need it - wild animal attacks

ivan loh The Star 4 Jul 18;

PEOPLE who become permanently disabled from wild animal attacks can receive up to RM20,000 in compensation.

State Character Development, Women and Family Development and Social Welfare Committee chairman Wong May Ing said the financial aid was one of many governmental assistance schemes people were unaware of.

“Under the Wild Animal Attack Aid Fund, the family of those who are killed or individuals who suffer loss of permanent physical movement can get the aid from the Federal Government,” the 39-year-old former Oriental Daily reporter told MetroPerak.

“However, the animal must be categorised as binatang buas (wild) by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Peninsular Malaysia (Perhilitan),” she said.

Wong said there was plenty of financial aid offered by both the Federal and state governments that many people do not know about.

She said among the lesser-known schemes by the state were general assistance, house building or repair, prosthetics and natural disaster.

“For the house building or repair aid, those who earn not more than RM500 are eligible. They can get a one-off payment of RM2,000 to build homes and maximum of RM1,000 for repairs.

“For the general assistance aid, the applicant’s household income must be RM930 or less,” she said.

“Recipients may get a minimum of RM300 to a maximum of RM450,” she said, adding that there were now about 8,470 recipients.

Wong said only those registered under the state Welfare Department were eligible to receive a one-off payment of RM3,000 to buy prosthetics.

“As for natural disaster aid, affected victims who stay at a temporary shelter and lost their source of income, can receive RM300 per household. Depending on the seriousness of the issue, they can get up to RM3,000,” she said.

Wong said financial aid from the federal level included assistance for children and orphans, retired senior citizens, disabled workers, caregivers of the bedridden disabled or chronic patients as well as non-working disabled persons and a grant for disabled folk to start a business.

“For the children and orphans’ aid, households with a total income of RM930 or less are eligible. They can get RM100 for each child but with a cap at RM450.

“Senior citizens who have retired, aged 60 or above with no source of income and have no children, can get RM350 per month. There are 8,039 recipients now,” she said.

“Disabled workers who have jobs that pay below RM1,200 can get a monthly allowance of RM400,” she added.

She said families who have to take care of any bedridden disabled person or those with chronic illnesses can get RM350 per month.

“The family must also have a household income of below RM3,000. There are about 2,326 recipients now.

“Disabled persons aged between 18 and 59, who cannot work and with a source of income below RM720, are also eligible to get RM250 monthly,” she said.

“Recipients or their children with disabilities registered with the Welfare Department can receive aid up to RM2,700 to start a business,” she added.

Wong said one of her goals for the Social Welfare portfolio was to enable people to apply for these aids without hassle.

“There are cases of an applicant facing problems getting the aid.

“I want to see people applying through the proper channels at the respective departments easily,” she said.

“I hope there will be a day when they need not go to their state representatives to get these aids.

“And only when there is a complication arising from the application procedure, I will step in,” she added.

Wong said she planned to introduce a new scheme for family members who must quit their jobs to look after disabled or bedridden family members.

“The sudden loss of income can be taxing, so there is a need to look into this.

“Sometimes, only financial assistance is not enough. They also need to learn the proper techniques to care for such individuals and there are currently no such caregiving programmes available,” she said.

“The training programme should also be open to volunteers or interested parties,” she added.

Wong said caregiving services may be available in cities or townships but not in most small towns.

“Perak will be one of the top two states in 2020 to have a huge ageing society.

“Such programmes are needed to train up more people to look after those who need it,” she said.

“Not everyone is rich and can afford to employ full-time caregivers for the needy,” she added.

Another plan she has for the social welfare portfolio was to ensure jobs for disabled people who are still able to work.

“There are cases whereby some people have been left paralysed from the waist down but their upper body mobility and function is unaffected.

“This could be a result of illness or accidents and they are unable to work in the same capacity as before,” she said.

“I plan to help this group of people – possibly reconnect them with their previous companies and find a suitable job for them,” she added.

She said a similar programme for mothers who quit their jobs to care for their babies would also be planned.

“We want to help mothers get back into the working world after years of looking after their infants,” she added.

Wong said the Welfare Department should not be viewed as only a place that gives out financial aid.

“It should also be a platform where people can come together to create a more caring society.

“Single parents, retirees or volunteers can go for training programmes through the department to pick up caregiving skills too,” she said.

Wong said she also planned to set up an institute to look into women’s affairs and development.

She said there were no proper agencies that dealt with women’s development.

“I plan to work with the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to see how we can share our resources to develop such an institute.

“For instance, Kemas (Community Development Centres), which comes under the ministry, is not just about preschools, they have training programmes for women.

“This can equip the women with skills to help them find work,” she said.

On the Character Development portfolio, which was newly created, Wong said she would need to sit down and plan for it properly.

“It was formerly linked with the Islamic Affairs Department whereby it focused more on the religion aspect.

“The new Mentri Besar decided to open it up for all religions and to concentrate more on moral values and self development,” she said.

“I will probably rope in the state Education Department and some non-governmental organisations to see how we can develop the programmes, policies and budget for this portfolio,” she added.

Wong said she was still adjusting to life working in the government.

“I have been in politics since 2005. When I was part of the Opposition, I used to raise a lot of issues faced by the people.

“Now, my challenge is to provide solutions to these problems,” she said.

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