Penang state govt announce goodies for the people

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang state government has announced a number of goodies for the people. While addressing a group of senior citizens at Komtar, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, took the opportunity to reveal that Penang will now increase its annual contributions to senior citizens by RM30 each.

Each recipient - registered with the state, will now get RM130 instead of RM100 which was accorded for the last five years.

Lim said the handout will be given to all entitled recipients, aged 60 and above.

Last year, Penang gave RM100 each to 167,489 senior citizens.

The state will spend around RM22 million on senior citizens this year.

Besides the elderly, Penang also offers incentive payouts to the disabled, the destitute, students, single mothers and other needy groups.

For this year, the state will also issue a smart card for residents living here under the slogan of "I-Love-Penang."

They would be entitled to a range of discounts and benefits for services and products under the state government.

There is also a free medical service for workers earning less than RM2,500 a month - they are entitled to free medical charges of up to RM150 per year through a panel of clinics registered with the state.

Each consultation visit is capped at RM50 only.

Later, state welfare committee chairperson Phee Boon Poh said that the state must gear up to the proposition that it will soon inherit an ageing population; hence the need to better care for senior citizens here.

Speaking at a training session conducted by the aid specialist - Mercy Malaysia, Phee said that Penang wants to reform the mindset of the emergency and disaster responders following the massive floods which inundated the state two months ago.

The state was accused of poor response and organisation ability by the victims.

Phee said the organisation's capability and standard operating procedures needed to be enhanced to cope with climate change where the weather can turn severe now compared to previous years.

"We must no longer be in a comfort zone when it comes to dealing with disasters and emergencies. We need to be better prepared."

Therefore, the state will be working with various experts in the field to ensure its reactionary forces will be better prepared to handle floods, landslides, sinkholes, debris and severe thunderstorms.