KOTA KINABALU: Hundreds of predominantly Christian elderly recipients of the monthly RM300 welfare aid in several districts in Sabah have had their monthly "allowance" stopped without any notice.
Up against a gloomy Christmas, a 69-year-old recipient from Kota Belud said he last received his allowance in August this year.
"We really need some money. Christmas is coming... we need some money.
"When I came to the Kota Belud district office the other day to find out what happened to my aid, I was shocked when a staff there told me that I should not be eligible for the aid as I have a handphone and a wristwatch," he said.
The "warga emas" said he was not the only one affected in Kota Belud.
He said the staff in the welfare section were telling other elderly recipients that there would be a new screening on their "houses" to ascertain their eligibility for the aid.
A quick survey of senior citizens found that many recipients of the "bantuan warga emas" in Kota Belud had last received their monthly aid either in July or August this year.
The survey also found that most of those whose allowance was terminated were Christians while Muslim recipients continued to receive the aid uninterrupted for the past four months.
The federal government increased the state welfare aid, introduced last year, from RM90 to RM300 to the delight of many families, especially old folk, single mothers and the handicapped.
Under the scheme, those who are 60 years and above are eligible to apply for the aid.
The guidelines stipulate that only one member, either the husband or wife, may receive the aid although there seemed to be exceptions in some cases.
Another elderly recipient from Kota Belud, whose aid was also "stopped" without notice in August, was unsure what to do as he had been told to just wait for his monthly RM300 ever since.
"Maybe Barisan Nasional has stopped giving us the money, but why are others still receiving it?" asked a 78-year-old man who requested anonymity.
It is learnt that some single mothers and handicapped persons have also not received their allowance since August or September.
Source: Free Malaysia Today