WOMEN, Family and Community Development deputy minister Senator Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun paid a surprise visit to the Pokok Sena Old Folks Home near Alor Setar.
She was welcomed by the home’s management committee chairman Datuk Dr Ch’ng Kok Heong who described the visit as “historic”.
“This is the first time a high-ranking ministry officer has set foot in the home since it was established in 1955,” he said.
Dr Ch’ng said the committee was planning to pay a visit to the ministry to request for financial aid for its RM1mil building fund.
“We are pleasantly surprised that she has come to visit us instead,” he said.
Chew said she was impressed with the way the home was being run and praised the committee for doing an excellent job.
“I’m satisfied with the conditions and environment of the home.
“The folk look happy and cheerful. It’s nice to see the residents dwelling in cottages in a resort-like atmosphere and they are free to move about,” she said.
She later gave away goodie bags to the residents of the home.
Caring act: Chew giving a goodie bag to Khor Kui Poo, 62, one of the residents of the old folk's home.
Chew urged the committee to submit a written request to her ministry for the building fund.
“My ministry in turn will make its recommendations to the Finance Ministry.
“My ministry has never given such assistance and it is not within my powers to do so,” she said.
Dr Ch’ng said the committee planned to develop a 2ha plot of land at the back of the home for an additional building.
He said the development plan which incorporated twenty rooms with attached toilet and kitchen facilities for each room had been submitted to the local authority and was pending approval.
“The building is estimated to cost about RM1mil and we will be inviting the tender next week.
“The committee is proposing a ringgit to a ringgit donation from the ministry to ease the strain on the committee to collect the funds,” he said.
There are 17 men and four women staying at the home.
Present at the welcoming ceremony were Pokok Sena MCA division chief Goh Chin Cheung, Kedah Wanita MCA chief Datuk Lim Bee Kau and Kedah MCA Youth chief Ong Soon Boon.