A family allegedly tried to cheat their way into receiving additional aid from the Kembara Kitchen founder, who shared the incident recently
The head of the charity organisation, William Cheah, wrote on Facebook last Sunday, 13 June, how a woman has been repeatedly contacting him for a few days to request for food aid.
However, he said, after what happened that day, they have decided not to donate any more supplies to her.
"A few minutes after our delivery team dropped off a rather comprehensive pack for her, she messaged me and asked when we were going to send supplies to her," he recounted.
When asked why she was asking for more, the woman said she did not know the care pack from Kembara Kitchen was the same as the one dropped off by Cheah's delivery team.
"When I called her, she could even tell me that there was nothing wrong in asking for more and from others too at the same time. Rezeki dia (her blessings), she told me."
Cheah said he was not impressed that the family was asking for more aid when the supplies could be given to other families in need of help
Since the pandemic began, Kembara Kitchen has been distributing care packages to families who have no money or have lost their source of income due to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
However, Cheah said some instead took advantage of their kindness.
He shared with SAYS a screenshot of the woman receiving a package from another welfare organisation on the same day his organisation delivered one to her.
"Never mind that her out-of-job husband refused to even go for an interview I had recommended. Never mind that she has five kids to feed. They don't even want to show some effort. But this, this is just the mentality of some of our recipients," he said, disappointed.
He wrote on Facebook that some families would apply for aid to as many as 10 organisations with the same address, but try to confuse them with different phone numbers or register under different names and IC numbers.
"If they can get two or three out of 10, I guess to them that's their blessing. Today alone, our team had come across three cases like this in less than half a day."
"Maybe they didn't take the time to consider that what extra they manage to cheat from us, means another family will not receive. I guess to them, that's another person's problem. Bukan rezeki mereka (not their blessings)."
Cheah said this was why non-governmental organisations (NGOs) take such a long time to process food aid requests
To prevent families from hoarding and receiving more aid than needed, volunteers spend more than half of their time just going through the vetting process.
Cheah said, "Every request is put into our data bank. Every delivery is documented with a photo and is attached with the name and address of the recipient. Every coordinator (five, so far) has access to this database. So, we know if things have gone wrong somewhere."
To counter the issue, Cheah told SAYS a standard national database that consists of every known Malaysian applying for welfare — with the collaboration of the Social Welfare Department (JKM) and all NGOs — would be ideal
However, he said, looking at the country's current scenario, it will be hard to achieve.
Therefore, in the meantime, Kembara Kitchen has decided to blacklist any individual or family caught trying to trick them.
"Not just them, but the entire neighbourhood or flat. When asked why, we will tell the newly-rejected recipients that one of their neighbours cheated us, hence their area has been blacklisted," Cheah said.
"This is a community effort. We have more recipients than we have supplies," reminded the founder of the social enterprise.
"We are also not beholden to any particular person to provide aid to, but we are beholden to our supporters to manage the donated goods and cash to the best of our ability."
"If there are communities that have greedy and selfish people, then I rather we focus on those who haven't cheated us (yet)."