Companies step up to help flood victims

by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE

THE flood disaster had seen many corporates rising to the occasion to provide flood relief for victims including basic necessities and equipment for rescue missions.

Many applauded their act for being quick in response to the rising water level in worst-hit areas last weekend, while some lauded companies that offered a free replacement of items that were damaged by the floods.

Economist Dr Nungsari Ahmad Radhi told The Malaysian Reserve that corporates, civil society organisations, community groups and individuals jumped in to help flood victims because the government seemed slow to and uncoordinated in providing assistance.

“Government’s response was totally inadequate and slow, especially in anticipating and managing the floods that were happening,” he said.

The government had received backlash from all corners as it was said to be slow in delivering assistance to affected individuals after the flood displaced thousands.

Flood relief measures provided by the public and corporates made headlines and took over social media.

Nungsari said the corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts would not have a substantial financial impact on corporations as they do what they can afford.

He said corporations have an allocated budget for CSR, based on expected profits.

“This might increase that budget and increase overall expenses, thus reducing profits but CSR generates goodwill from helping their existing and potential customers.”

Companies that provided a helping hand to flood victims include Decathlon Malaysia which temporarily suspended sales for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding and life jackets to support authorities and NGOs to enable them access to areas that cannot be entered by vehicles.

Sunway Lagoon donated boats, floats and umbrellas for flood victims and rescue missions while manufacturer and supplier of mattresses, Goodnite Sdn Bhd provided mattresses and pillows to temporary shelters.

The flood left houses devastated and led to loss of livelihoods for many have prompted several individuals to break into Mydin Mart in Sri Muda, Shah Alam for basic necessities.

Mydin’s MD Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin forgave individuals who broke into the branch in desperation for basic necessities. The branch, in a badly affected locale of floods, was destroyed which incurred millions of losses to the company.

“Honestly, I do not support their act of stealing, but at a time of emergency, they would probably have had no choice and were forced to do so for their survival.

“Sincerely, I would like to make halal what they have done as they were merely trying to stay alive as aid had come in late,” he said.

Banks extended assistance to borrowers affected by the floods which included a six-month repayment deferment to lessen the burdens faced by the victims.

An increase in provision and non-performing loans are expected.

“This is not CSR, this is an increase in the cost of doing business for banks. It is not the same as CSR done by other corporates,” Nungsari said.

Hong Leong Bank Bhd and Hong Leong Islamic Bank Bhd have mobilised a “Flood Relief Assistance” programme which offers up to a six-month payment deferment on loan and financing facilities.

The deferment includes credit cards and is available for affected individuals, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and microenterprise customers.

Public Islamic Bank and Public Bank Bhd also provide repayment relief which includes deferment of monthly instalment for loan and financing of up to six months, on a request basis and is applicable to loan and financing facilities such as house financing, hire purchase and credit cards for individual customers, as well as SME loan and financing for affected businesses.