Amirudin: No coordination issues between state, federal govts

by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / Pic by BERNAMA

THE Selangor government has denied claims that the state and federal governments’ flood relief operations were poorly organised, telling the public that preserving lives is everyone’s utmost concern.

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari said the chronology of events involved the state government’s earlier reactions to the flood and calling for immediate aid from the federal administration to deploy all necessary resources to help with the crisis.

He said he had called for a state disaster meeting on Dec 18 to discuss the appropriate response to the flood, however, state agencies were caught off-guard by the amount of rainfall within 24 hours.

“I contacted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob at 8.30pm for immediate help from the federal government and soon after that, at 8.45pm, I contacted Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein for help from the military and other appropriate resources.

“I have WhatsApp messages to prove the communications. Yes, there was a lack of coordination but not because we do not communicate.

“We were caught by surprise the amount of water and at this time, our focus is to ensure search and rescue operations are carried out effectively,” he said at a press conference yesterday.

Amirudin said the continuous downpours in Selangor on Dec 17 — the highest rainfall ever recorded — have resulted in extensive flooding.

He added that the rainfall had been more than twice the highest recorded rainfall for Selangor, which is around 180mm while the average rainfall is only around 60mm. Additionally, high tides in affected areas exceeded 4.5m.

As of 8am yesterday, a total of 30,632 flood victims consisting of 4,672 families have been placed in 203 official temporary relief centres across the nine districts of Selangor and a total of 17 deaths were recorded in three districts due to the floods. Ten bodies were found in Klang, three in Hulu Langat and four in Sepang.

Amirudin expressed his sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims.

He added that the Selangor government will provide a one-off RM10,000 aid for the families of those who died in the floods and RM1,000 in assistance and a one-month water bill waiver for all households affected by the severe floods.

Amirudin also expecting the number of flood victims to increase in several districts such as Kuala Langat, Kuala Selangor and Sepang where water levels are seen to be increasing.

He said the reluctance of residents to move to temporary relief centres and remain in their homes would be the cause of the increase in flood victims.

“We have managed to reach out to the flood victims and inform them of all risks but, unfortunately, they have decided to stay at their homes which are currently still safe.

“We are donating food baskets and cooking materials for those who are still at their homes but if the situation turns dire, we will persuade them to move to the temporary relief centres,” Amirudin said.

Amirudin added that the state government would also defer loan payments for two months to Hijrah entrepreneurs involving a cost of RM15 million.

The state government also announced that the Selangor “Ikhtihar” fund has been set up for private companies, government-linked companies and individuals to contribute towards the recovery of areas affected by the floods.

“I will contribute a month of my salary as a start to the fund.

“I repeat the words of Winston Churchill, ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’,” he said.