GEORGE TOWN: A Penang executive councillor dropped a bombshell allegation claiming flood relief for the recent flash floods in the state came three days late, appearing to coincide with the prime minister’s visit.
Dr Afif Bahardin (PKR-Seberang Jaya) said help came from Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M) which brought “10 trailer lorries” on Nov 7, carrying mattresses and pillows “with PM Najib Razak’s face on it”.
Najib arrived in Penang for an official visit on Nov 7.
Afif said it was surprising that an NGO like KP1M could send that much supplies when the Welfare Department store in Bedong, Kedah, had “run out of stock” after floods hit Penang and parts of Kedah.
He said when Penang reached out to the Bedong store, it responded by saying it was not given any allocation to buy supplies.
“For three days, all the flood victims at relief centres in the state slept on the bare floor, just to wait for pillows and mattresses with Najib’s face on it. I was there, I saw it for myself.
“My question is, why does an NGO or a club have more allocations compared with a government agency?
“Don’t the welfare authorities know that the end of the year is the time when flood disasters are to be expected? Especially in November and December?” Afif asked during his winding-up speech at the state assembly today.
Afif said Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who heads the KP1M, must explain what were in the 10 trailer lorries and where the club’s money came from.
He said he met Azeez on Nov 7 and was informed that one of the 10 trailers was filled with mattresses and pillows. As for the rest of the consignments, Afif was not aware.
Muhammad Farid Saad (BN-Pulau Betong) stood up and reprimanded Afif for his accusation, saying KP1M was a “NGO kerajaan” (government NGO) which had come out to help for good reasons.
“An NGO came to give donations. Just like Tzu Chi Foundation. Please do not make unnecessary accusations. This is an ‘NGO kerajaan’.
“And mind you, the Welfare Department is a shared service between the state and federal governments. If they are running out of supplies, the state should give some money to restock,” he said.
Afif then told Farid that Tzu Chi was not led by an MP like KP1M and the former was a non-profit body.
“YB… at least Tzu Chi did not have my face or Guan Eng’s face plastered on their pillows and mattresses,” causing the house to erupt into laughter.
State Welfare Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh then interjected, saying the stocking up of flood relief items were the responsibility of the federal government.
“From September to November, you know it’s the monsoon season; you can expect floods. But for them to have no stock is unacceptable. How can you not know?
“I don’t want to name names, but apparently a federal minister came to Penang during the floods and bought RM1 million worth of items from a supermarket in cash. Yes, cash.
“What a shame when the Welfare Department folks can’t even replenish their stocks,” he said.