This is after other states with worse floods condition were able to manage the disaster better
by ASILA JALIL / pic by TMR FILE
PRIME Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has put the blame on Selangor’s weak flood management at its state and district levels for the flood that badly hit the state last month.
He said other states such as Pahang were faced with floods at worse scales, but were able to manage the disaster well.
“I have to emphasise that the flood in Selangor was an unexpected incident that happened due to the weakness identified at the state and district levels, which caused me to intervene.
“Many are aware that at the same period, there were several other states that were hit by floods and some at worse scales (than Selangor) such as Pahang.
“However, the disaster was handled well despite the challenges because their disaster management machineries at the state and district levels were organised and well prepared,” he said in the special Parliament sitting yesterday.
Ismail Sabri highlighted that the Malaysian Meteorological Department had released six warnings of heavy rain, however, they were ignored by several quarters who are directly involved in the disaster management.
This is because some of them assumed that only states in the East Coast would be affected by the floods caused by the northeast monsoon, the PM said.
“Preparation for the monsoon season was mainly focused on the states in the East Coast and the unusual flood that took place in Selangor was beyond the expectations of many parties.
“The flood in Selangor which began on Dec 18, 2021, occurred as a result of an unusual average amount of rainfall at 380mm on the day, which is similar to the average amount of rainfall in a month,” he said.
The PM said the chaos that unfolded on the first day of flood management in Selangor has caused difficulties for rescue groups to do their operations because of the urban flooding complexities.
He added that the management in Selangor did not show any improvement on the second and third day until many people were unsatisfied with the delayed rescue missions.
Ismail Sabri then highlighted that he went on the ground on the night of Dec 18 after realising that Selangor was in a critical state.
“I rushed to the Natural Disaster Control Centre (NDCC) to get information on the situation on the ground via explanation by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) chief. While I was there, I took immediate action to activate a hotline to facilitate complaints and queries regarding the floods via NDCC,” he said.
He also took a jab at several Opposition members where he claimed some MPs did not even show up that night while there were some who were “out of radar”.
The PM’s remarks led to fiery exchanges between the two political blocs that kept accusing one another of not doing enough during the crisis.
Ismail Sabri continued with his debate and said rescue agencies also faced difficulties in getting cooperation from the public to evacuate their homes.
“Most of the victims gave excuses such as they wanted to save their belongings or fear of Covid-19 infections at temporary relief centres (PPS). Therefore, when the water levels rise, many people were stuck at home and required immediate help,” he said.
Based on the latest data, a total of 38,113 families have been placed at 1,112 PPS involving 136,030 victims.
Although the northeast monsoon 2021/2022 has yet to end, all PPS nationwide have been fully shut down but are well prepared to reopen if needed, he said.
The Royal Malaysia Police also reported that 55 deaths have taken place due to the floods involving 40 adult males, 12 adult females, two boys and 15 girls. Two individuals are still missing.
For a long-term solution to the flood, Ismail Sabri said there needs to be an improvement in the disaster risk reduction that requires a whole of society approach and implemented in all aspects in the community.
“I have also instructed Nadma to expedite the enactment of the Disaster Management Act,” he added.