No help from Putrajaya for the marginalized children and homeless in Chow Kit this Christmas

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 23rd of December, 2014

Christmas is traditionally associated with the giving of gifts and helping those who are in less fortunate positions. However, this Christmas, the poor and the marginalized in the Chow Kit area have gotten news that funding from the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development will be taken away for two NGOs which cater to their needs.

On the 19th of December, it was reported that Ministry funding of RM700,000 for Pusat Bantuan Khidmat Sosial (PBKS) which was channelled through the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC) would be stopped starting in 2015.[1] Since its establishment in 2007 as a partnership between an NGO and the Ministry, PBKS has acted as a one-stop center to the marginalized in the Chow Kit area.[2] According to reports and testimony of volunteers[3], PBKS seems to be providing exactly the kind of services which the Minister of Federal Territories, Tengku Adnan, had said DBKL would supply.[4] But with the stoppage of funding from the Ministry, the ability of PBKS to continue its services and activities have been put in danger.

Shortly thereafter, on the 23rd of December, 2014, it was reported that another program – a teen and youth center called KL Krash Pad that is being run by Yayasan Chow Kit – would also stop receiving funding of RM300,000 a year from the Ministry starting in 2015.[5]

The irony of these funding stoppages is that the overall operating budget of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development has almost doubled from RM1.04 billion in 2010 to an estimated RM2.04 billion in 2015! The budget for community welfare (‘kebajikan masyarakat’) has increased from RM195.6 million 2010 to an estimated RM314.6 million in 2015, an increase of 61%. The RM1 million it takes to run the activities of PBKS and KL Krash Pad for one year amounts to 0.3% of the total budget for community welfare.

Is the Ministry so short of funds that it cannot continue two programs which cost RM1 million in total per annum when its overall operating budget has increased by 100% in 5 years and its operating budget for community welfare has increased 60% in the same period? Is the Minister, Datuk Hajah Rohani binti Abdul Karim, so heartless as to deprive the marginalized children, poor and homeless in the Chow Kit area access to the services offered by these two NGOs?