| Hajah Saemah Zulkefli |
PENSIONERS in Mukim Seria are still unfamiliar with the new queue system introduced recently for collecting their old age Pension. They allege that the queue numbers are given earlier than the stated time and that some people jump the queue to get the numbers.
The new system is also causing headaches as some allege that numbers are given before 8am and some people are not queuing properly.
In an interview, the Penghulu of Mukim Seria, Awg Haji Jamail bin Haji Linap, said the new system was introduced three months ago as the old system was proved inefficient and slow.
“The notice about the new system had been issued beforehand and displayed at the Seria District Office Hall where the distribution takes place. The rule states that numbers will be distributed at 8am and the recipients are to make a single-line queue, on a first-come-first-serve basis.”
Awg Haji Jamail said he is aware of the matter and assured that he would look into the allegations and address the problems. He said the new system is intended for the ease and benefit of the recipients, a majority of whom are over 60 years old.
There are 1,243 recipients of government pensions and allowances in the Mukim Seria area which also includes special needs allowances and welfare assistance.
Currently, as a result of vacant village head positions in Pandan Housing Scheme, Lorong Tiga Seria and Pekan Seria, the Penghulu of Mukim Seria also has to deal with the pension and allowance distribution for recipients in those areas.
“On the 25th of every month, I personally have to go to the Community Development Department (JAPEM) office in Kuala Belait to take the funds to be distributed. I have to queue with other penghulus and village heads, and that is why on the first day the distribution is delayed,” said Awg Haji Jamail.
Dyg Noridah binti Haji Ishak, Head of the Belait Community Development Department said, “On the 25th of every month, all penghulus and village heads will come to the department to collect the funds and it takes time as they have to check the recipients’ files and ensure that the correct amount is allocated to each penghulu and village head.”
The Bulletin also spoke with the Belait District Officer, Haji Haris bin Haji Othman, who commented that the Belait District Office would look into the matter and a meeting with the pensioners will be held to smooth out the problems especially in the Mukim Seria area. “I hope all parties will show courtesy and be patient in the matter to avoid unwanted incidents,” added Awang Haji Haris.
The old age pension and other allowances are usually distributed to recipients coinciding with the government pay day.
Awg Haji Jamail also added that in Mukim Seria, the pensions and allowances can be collected for a one-week period.
“Actually this issue should not arise as recipients have a week to collect their pensions or allowances. But they usually rush to collect on the first day resulting in the problems,” he added.