Wednesday, February 1, 2012

6,000 impatient applicants storm centre to get vouchers

HUGE CROWD AT CIVIC CENTRE: Thousands of people thronged the civic centre to collect their cash vouchers.

BINTULU: Some 6,000 successful applicants of Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) from Jepak, Kidurong and Kemena constituencies stormed the Bintulu Civic Centre here yesterday.

As early as 8am, the compound of the centre was packed causing a minor commotion between the huge and unorganised crowd and security personnel present.

Some were even heard shouting out their dissatisfaction at the failure of the security personnel in particular in controlling the crowd.

Efforts to create a queue did not work as impatient members in the crowd began pulling one another before storming the counter to get their cash vouchers.

On the second floor where the financial institutions counters were set up, impatient applicants in long queues ended up breaking a glass door; no one was hurt in the incident.

Deputy Resident (Social) Richard Michael Abu Nawwas when met said they are expecting to receive 6,000 successful applicants each day.

“All together, Bintulu has about 30,000 successful applicants and we are going to distribute the cash vouchers in five phases starting today until February 4,” he said.

He said the situation was a bit chaotic in the morning, as it was the first day of the voucher distribution, but he hoped he would get more cooperation from security personnel and the public in particular.

Sarawak administrative officer for Sebauh David Kala who attended to the various questions and complaints near the counter on the ground floor said there was some confusion among the applicants.

Matters became worse when a huge group from the other side suddenly stormed the counters and broke queue displacing some who had queued up for so long.

On the other hand, Pawi Mizah, 68, from Sebauh sub-district said he came as early as possible together with other relatives and villagers to avoid the crowds and in get his voucher early.

“I am happy for this assistance from the government as it is able to ease a bit of our burden especially among the senior citizens,” he said.

Meanwhile Junaidi Matna, 52, thanked the government for their sensitivity to the needs of the people especially the less fortunate and poor families.

“This assistance I believe is something that we are waiting for as it also shows that the government has been responsible in assisting the people.

“Thus to show our thankfulness we should give our support and cooperation to the current government,” said Junaidi.

However, when asked about the distribution of the BR1M vouchers yesterday, he said the security personnel especially the police, Rela and Civil Defence Department (JPAM) should be more organised.

“From what I have seen, for the sake of all people’s safety, someone should put an ambulance on standby in case of an emergency; I just saw someone faint just now.

“Rationally, in this kind of overcrowding situation, anything can happen and before the worse happens, please do something as a precaution,” urged Junaidi.

He also touched on the insufficient number of security personnel in maintaining order especially among impatient recipients.

“I believe we should be equipped with sufficient security force, if not enough just bring Rela corps from other areas,” he added.

The distribution of BR1M cash vouchers for three constituencies here namely Jepak, Kidurong and Kemena would be held in five phases.

The distribution is from January 31 until February 4, from 8.30am-5pm at Bintulu Civic Centre.

Applicants who have collected the one-off RM500 aid can cash their vouchers at CIMB, Maybank and Bank Simpanan Nasional, which will open their counters at the centre.

Successful applicants need to bring their original MyKad and letters of notification when they collect the RM500 payment. No representatives are allowed to collect on behalf of the applicants.

The voucher is valid until April 15 and the appeal for unsuccessful applicants can still be made until February 10.

Also present to monitor the situation were district officer Tuah Suni and Bintulu MP political secretary Zaiedy Nor Abu Nasir.