KUALA LUMPUR: THE government will disburse RM50 million to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry to help single mothers, the disabled and elderly.
The money, channelled through the ministry's Hati Rakyat programme, will be handed out from next month.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who announced this at the National Council of Women's Organisations' (NCWO) 50th year celebration yesterday, said this would be carried out together with the 1Azam programme.
"The funds will be used to help single mothers, the disabled and elderly, according to their needs. Maybe some will be needing skills, adult diapers or wheelchairs.
"The RM50 million will expand the social security net of this group."
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon said the programme was being finalised and details would be given later.
Former women, family and community development minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil thanked Najib and said the allocation was in tandem with the economic development and transformation of the country.
She said social development had taken centre stage and was crucial under the administration of Najib and Barisan Nasional.
"This is an acknowledgement for women and the target groups."
Disabled Persons Association Malaysia president V. Muruges-waran urged the authorities to use the RM50 million wisely as this could help the disabled become useful citizens.
"The government should also focus on making the environment, buildings and infrastructure disabled-friendly so that it would be accessible to people like us."
Last year, the government had allocated RM1.4 billion to help single mothers, the disabled and senior citizens. Of that, RM478 million was allocated to help 135,000 senior citizens through a monthly allowance of RM300.
The 1Azam programme began in 2010 and is targeted at the low-income group from all communities, including Indians, Orang Asli and Bumiputeras. It benefited more than 90,000 last year.
This year, the government has allocated RM400 million for the 1Azam programme, with some 65,000 expected to benefit.
The core 1Azam programmes are Azam Tani (agriculture), Azam Niaga (entrepreneurship), Azam Khidmat (service) and Azam Kerja (job placement). These are aimed at helping the poor break out of the poverty cycle.
Datuk Noriah Kasnon says the programme was being finalised and more details will be revealed soon. (right) V. Murugeswaran wants the government to make infrastructure disabled-friendly