Parliament: Ismail defends Federal govt, says all preparations were made for floods that took 47 lives, displaced thousands

While the Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) had provided sufficient notices on the impending floods, actual information on NADMA’s website contained mostly COVID-19 information and had very little info if not any on the floods before the Dec 17/18 disastrous floods in Selangor. Many volunteers who made frantic calls to the above number had no replies, while the NADMA site offered very little help. Rescue operations and preparedness, at least in the Selangor area did not commensurate with the national funds’ allocation as said by the prime minister in Parliament today.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 – The special meeting in Parliament today for the Dewan Rakyat to discuss post-flood efforts and coordination of assistance to the people, and flood mitigation plans took off on a bad start as Opposition Members of Parliament started objecting to some of the flak and “finger pointing” remarks made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob midway in his opening address.

Ismail Sabri in giving a chronology of the floods that took place from the months of November to early this year, said the Malaysian Meteorological Department had on Nov 1st issued a warning on the anticipated periodical heavy rains from Nov 3 to early 2022 in several states in the peninsula and Sabah.

In anticipation of the monsoon period, and instruction from the National Security Council, Sabri said he himself had chaired a meeting in September of the Central Disaster Management Committee involving the chief ministers from all states, secretaries general of state governments, heads of state disaster management committees as well as representatives from federal and state government agencies.

Apart from looking at the preparations ahead of the monsoon, an allocation of RM9.5 million from the national disaster relief trust fund was also agreed upon to be distributed to the various bodies expected to be involved in the flood rescue and relief operations including the armed forces, police, health ministry and Rela.

Apart from this, funds were also allocated to the state secretariats and district flood committees, Sabri said.

The prime minister said the National Disaster Management Agency had provided sufficient notices on the impending floods.

He, also however acknowledged that the floods in Selangor was brought on by unusually heavy rain patterns, against normal expectations.

He also admitted that relief efforts were slow to reach some areas in Selangor due to several challenges although the flood relief machinery was activated on Dec 18.

Meanwhile, according to many volunteers involved in flood relief operations have said that the NADMA website offered very little if any information or took any active efforts for coordination efforts during the flood itself before the Dec 17/18 disastrous flood situation.

Many of the early relief operations in Selangor were carried out by related state assemblymen as well as voluntary organisations. The Federal agencies involved in rescue and relief operations were delayed in providing their help in the flooded areas of Selangor.