Welfare assistance numbers remain static amid COVID-19 outbreak

Wani Roslan

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin said that the monthly welfare assistance numbers remain static amid the COVID-19 period.

During the daily press conference yesterday, the minister said the number of family heads who received assistance until May 2020 was 5,678. Last year until December, 5,812 family heads received the monthly welfare assistance.

“Our Client’s Charter (TPOR) process and the decision will be done in three months. We are doing this according to the TPOR. Alhamdulillah, we are trying our best to reduce the period of the process,” he said.

Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan said any application received during the COVID-19 outbreak in March would take about three months to be reviewed.

Highlighting on the changes in criteria upon receiving assistance under the Community Development Department (JAPEM), he said the current eligibility criteria used is different with what is being applied by the Brunei Islamic Religious Council (MUIB) and Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah (Yayasan) on the Minimum Cost of Basic Needs (KMKA).

“With the adoption of the system, it will be aligned based on KMKA and OECD Modified Scale. It is a huge change as JAPEM’s eligibility criteria is low, which means it will be difficult for applicants to get assistance,” he said.

The minister pointed out that only fully qualified applicants will receive assistance based on KMKA. “In my view, the number of applications for assistance will increase based on different qualifications and it is right to be aligned with MUIB or Yayasan and others, so that there will be no difference in the calculation,” he added.