PETALING JAYA: The army does not have to wait for instructions from anyone to save people trapped in floods, chief of defence forces Affendi Buang said today.
Responding to media reports that the army did not respond faster to the floods in Selangor because they had allegedly not been given the green light by the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), Affendi said his men had been on standby to deal with the floods for the past two months after receiving “instructions from the top”.
“If the water is rising, I’m not going to wait for anyone,” he said when asked if the army had received Nadma’s approval.
“If I’ve got my personnel and assets there, I’ll say: ‘Go ahead and save the people first.’
“What is there to wait for?” he said at a press conference in Shah Alam.
Quoting a source, FMT had previously reported how the army decided to go ahead with mobilising its resources on Friday night to help evacuate flood victims to temporary relief centres after being fed up of waiting for the directive from Nadma.
Nadma had received flak over its management of the floods in the Klang Valley. This was after special functions minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad had been quoted as saying that Nadma was not directly involved in dealing with natural disasters such as floods, and was largely responsible for providing compensation.
Subsequently, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced on Monday that the National Security Council (MKN) had been immediately tasked with taking the lead in flood relief efforts.
Nadma also denied reports that it prevented the army from taking part in search-and-rescue operations in Selangor.
When asked to comment on whether the army was “fed up”, as alleged, of having to wait for Nadma’s clearance, Affendi said the response to the floods was a joint operation.
“I myself was on the ground at Kampung Bukit Lanchong (in Shah Alam) at midnight when the floodwaters began rising rapidly,” he said.
“That’s when we got the request from Nadma and the state government to assist in any way we could.”