The Community Development Department (JAPEM) in collaboration with youth volunteers have cumulatively delivered food to a total of 35,078 houses to accommodate 180,462 individuals in all four districts as of Thursday.
This was shared by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah at the daily press conference yesterday.
The minister said food rations are delivered to about 1,000 houses by volunteers daily after the process of updating the list of applicants received from the Ministry of Health (MoH).
“Currently, operations at ration centres are affected due to the increasing number of applicants during the third wave,” said the minister, adding that improvements have been identified and will be implemented with the cooperation of government agencies, the private sector and volunteers for the delivery of food rations to be expedited.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin apologised on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) for the delays in the delivery of the dry food rations which may take more than three days from the date of application.
“This matter is being examined and, Insya Allah, will continue to be improved so the supply and dry food rations can be delivered as soon as possible,” said the minister.
Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Haji Aminuddin Ihsan explained the challenges faced in sending out food rations.
He said the current scenario differs greatly from when it first began in August 2021.
“At the beginning, the delivery of food rations was only for those in quarantine and for positive cases as they were placed in isolation centres,” said the minister.
“Now a majority fraction of the cases are isolating at home causing a significant increase in the number of deliveries,” he said.
The minister said that from February 11 to March 3, statistics showed the number of delivered food rations had increased by 30 per cent compared to August.
“Previously, the delivery to these houses was only around 500 daily, but now the numbers are between 800 to 1,000 houses,” he said, adding that with volunteers and other parties providing assistance, they were able to deliver up to 1,277 homes in one day.
Another challenge is the work flow, said the minister. He said it could take up to two days to process the list of names with additional filtering via phone-calls due to duplications in home addresses.
The minister said they will employ more people to increase the number of calls to COVID-19 positive individuals for filtering and update the processes so it could be carried out in less than a day.
The minister said they will also need to increase the amount of delivery logistics, workforce and food rations in relation to the increase number of cases.
“We will improve all these matters of significance by increasing transportation, manpower, as well as in ensuring that food rations are sufficient for a period of seven days while a supply top up will be carried out every five days, resulting in a faster turn around,” said the minister.
“This will be carried out with cooperation from Ghanim International Corporation Sdn Bhd, the Ministry of Education, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), and possibly Dart to increase deliveries from 1,000 houses daily to 1,500,” he said.
“We will reduce the period from three days with the filtering process to within half-a-day with food delivery the next day, which we hope to implement immediately,” said the minister.
“We apologise for the delay and we will ensure that the supply of food rations will be able to be refined, accelerated, and ensure that food rations will be given to those who really need it.”
Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew said there are cases where positive cases or close contacts do not need the food ration assistance, and these food rations have been refused on arrival at their address.
“We are updating the BruHealth app so that there is an option when individuals report themselves as QO or positive cases, giving them the option to tell whether they need food assistance or not,” said the minister, adding that if individuals choose not to have food rations delivered, it will ease the burden on the system.
The minister said there are also cases of families with multiple positive tests requesting for food rations under the same address, which adds on to the filtering via phone calls as only one delivery is to be made for food rations under the same address.