RM50 million spent on assets acquisition for flood preparations

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM50 million has been spent on assets acquisition to face the monsoon season this year, says Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

This includes the purchase of amphibious boats, rescue boats, four-wheel drives, five- and seven-tonne lorries and cubicle tents, among others.

“The government also implemented capacity building programmes through training and workshops involving district officers and district police chiefs to handle the disaster operation control centre and disaster on-the-scene control centre.

“Practical training sessions are also being held for the community. So far, these involve 6,000 participations in 12 locations. Aid efforts for disasters are also being standardised,” she told the Dewan Rakyat today.

She was replying to a question from Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) on the measures being taken to tackle the possibility of monsoon floods at year-end.

To a question from Tan on the government’s short- and long-term measures to mitigate the adverse impact of floods, Wan Azizah said it was crucial for the country to have a more accurate forecasting system to reduce the risk of disasters.

She said the government was in the midst of modernising the National Disaster Command Centre via the Disaster Recovery Centre, which is expected to be ready by September 2019.

She said this was one of the improvements made by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to face disasters, especially floods.

The Science & Technology Expert Panel (STEP) was also appointed as an advisory body to Nadma to empower and implement national disaster risks management. It also conducted capacity building programmes through the MySMART Hero programme by raising the awareness level of disasters among kindergarten teachers and students, she said.

The deputy prime minister also said the government would seek to coordinate efforts with NGOs to ensure aid is channelled to the needy.

“Sometimes these NGOs have good intentions but the aid is stacked away and not distributed to the needy victims.

“Sometimes the matter is politicised and the aid only gets to be delivered by politicians going to the ground who take pictures (for publicity),” she said.