Helping Vulnerable Communities: A Guide

Everything has changed with COVID19. 

For many of us, the Movement Control Order (MCO) means that we are stuck in our houses -- working, studying, exercising, living. 

For the most vulnerable amongst us, the MCO is one step closer to starvation:

  • Day-laborers cannot work. No work = no salary = no food
  • Those without cash savings do not have a safety net to draw from
  • The food insecure do not have stockpiles for daily meals

While the government’s Bantuan Prihatin Nasional relief plan has helped many Malaysians, there are many others who fall through the gaps

Malaysian civil society is resilient and proactive. Civil society is acting to fill these gaps -- to prevent untold suffering. Additionally, civil society NGOs may have existing distribution networks, community relationships, and on-the-ground knowledge that can complement government action.

You can help by donating to initiatives that help the following demographics, ranked by priority:



1. Refugees / the stateless / migrant workers

There are ~200,000 registered refugees and ~3 million migrant workers in Malaysia. Because refugees, migrant workers, asylum seekers are not citizens, they will not benefit from the Prihatin relief program. As day-laborers and blue collar workers, many refugees and migrant workers also cannot work under the MCO. Many are at real risk of not having food. 

There are a couple of excellent NGOs who are coordinating food aid on the ground to increase the efficiency of your donations. For example:

Go to the relevant initiatives: Refugees


2. Orang Asli

Out of ~50,000 Orang Asli households in Malaysia, 20,000 households will need aid during the MCO. While most Orang Asli are considered B40 and are thus eligible for the Prihatin relief program, many may not have direct, timely access to the funds. Many Orang Asli have lost their income sources under the MCO -- as day laborers and subsistence farmers.

Go to the relevant initiatives: Orang Asli

3. The homeless 

Needless to say, the homeless are amongst the most vulnerable communities to COVID19. 

Go to the relevant initiatives: Homeless


4. B40


Many of the urban poor / B40 are cut off from their income sources -- as blue collar workers, many do not have the luxury of working from home. While they will benefit from the Prihatin relief program, the aid received will not fully compensate for their loss of income.

Go to the relevant initiatives: B40; urban poor

5. Women and children; disabled; elderly; students


Lastly, let’s not forget other groups who may be disproportionately impacted by the MCO.

Go to the relevant initiatives: Women and chlidren; disabled; elderly; students