Tuesday February 19, 2013
Huge crowd jostles for RM200 voucher forms
GEORGE TOWN: A large crowd jostled for forms to apply for the RM200 one-off vouchers under 1Malaysia People’s Welfare Programme (Kar1sma) at the Federal Building in Anson Road here since 8am.
Security guards and officers had to use hailers to urge the public to queue up after noticing much shoving and pushing.
More than 100 motorbikes and cars were parked along the road, causing a 2km-long traffic jam.
State Women, Family and Community Development Department director Yusman Hambali Ahmad said they ran out of forms at about 2pm.
“We made extra copies of the forms and managed to distribute some 4,000 copies. But the photocopy machines broke down,” he said.
He said the forms would only be distributed for a day and it must be returned to the department by 11am today.
“We did not expect the huge crowd,” he said.
He said those eligible to apply included senior citizens, children and disabled workers as well as those with chronic illnesses.
“There is no income ceiling. Even if you are earning RM6,000 a month, you can still apply but we will vet all applications to ensure the aid goes only to the poor,” he said.
Outside the lobby of the building, some were spotted selling the photocopied forms at RM1 each.
A housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mei Ling, said she was forced to buy a form since she arrived there only at 4.15pm.
Penang Hindu Association (PHA) deputy president P. Murugiah said he received complaints that the department was ill-prepared to handle the crowd.
“Fortunately, there were no untoward incidents,” he said.
On Feb 14, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that a RM50mil allocation under Kar1sma would be disbursed by March 31.
He said the programme would benefit some 200,000 people nationwide, with those in the peninsula getting a one-off voucher of RM200 while those in Sabah and Sarawak would get RM300.
The vouchers can be used to redeem daily necessities, schooling needs, wheelchairs, and kitchen and cooking appliances from selected shops.