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Food Insecurity Remains a Serious Concern in Malaysia

The Sustainable Development goals the 2030 Agenda is a set of global development goals that were adopted by the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015, building on the success of the Millennium Development Goals which includes several objectives which [I would like to concentrate on the Second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 2). It is to ensure food security and to eliminate or reduce all forms of hunger by 2030.

Relatively early this year, our great nation was swamped with reports of two Myanmar deaths of children after having to eat trash in Langkawi. Pragmatically, it is not tolerable for this to continue in this day of age. Some may argue that they are not Malaysian citizens and are simply fugitives, but would that necessarily imply they do not even have the right to eat? Could it be true that they are not recorded in the second Sustainable Goal of our country just because they are not citizens?

According to Hamzah Osman (2022), they were found dead after eating food pilfered from a garbage can in Kampung Baru Sungai Tepa, Bukit Malut, at a neighbour’s house near where the garbage bin was found. Assistant Commissioner Shariman Ashari, the Langkawi divisional chief of police, said the officers were alerted of the incident and rushed to help.

It is definitely heart-breaking to think of two children dying because of eating trash in order to survive. In accordance with  Liew Jia Xian’s article in The Star (2022), apart from grieving the lives lost of the two Myanmar boys, ages two and four, in Kampung Baru Sungai Tepa near Bukit Malut, the locals expressed regret that these events could occur in Malaysia.

This is indeed a wake-up call for us to be more observant concerning our surrounding people to ensure something like this would not rehash its history. For example, as caring Malaysians, the least we can do is start sharing our food with our neighbours and friends occasionally, even though we can deny that most of us are struggling due to inflation.

This could be supported by the fact that Haroon (2022) has stated in his article in News Straits Times that fresh produce prices are increasing all over; therefore, people in Malaysia have many reasons to be upset. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they have been struggling to feed their family. Our country's situation has deteriorated as a result of the inflation; this year. Inflation is expected to range between 2.2 percent and 3.2 percent due to high input costs and improving demand.

As stated by Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir, inflation. Increased by 4.1% back in April compared to a year ago. This has caused the problem of food insecurity among many Malaysians. According to Fatimah Zainal (2022), this can be seen in an article stating that non-governmental organisations involved in the movement, soup kitchens have seen an upsurge in instance as more Malaysians are nudged into food poverty. As per Mohd Syazwan Mokhtar, general manager of the Lost Food Project, there is an increasingly pressing need for us to recognise food intake culture because "we are already wasting more than the global average per household, while some in the community are still going to bed hungry."

As stated by Kechara Soup Kitchen operations director Justin Cheah, with higher food prices, more of  the less privileged in society will seek assistance from soup kitchens, increasing the soup kitchen's cost to provide food. Given rising food costs, Cheah recommended Malaysians reduce food waste and opt for more cost-effective options such as eating at home and purchasing alternative ingredients and local products. He also advised looking for special deals at hypermarkets that typically sell items with a relatively short rack death at the end of the day.

To summarize, our country is still a long way from achieving the second Sustainable Development Goal, but this does not mean we have given up all hope; instead, it means we must work harder and work together to combat this issue while also achieving the second SDG goal. This is ensuring food insecurity would not be an issue for us to worry about anymore in our country.



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