PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has instructed ministers on leave abroad to return home immediately to help victims hit by floods last weekend.
In his Facebook page, Ismail said those who were planning to go abroad for holidays had been told to postpone their plans.
“I have asked those planning to go on leave to cancel their plans until the flood problems are solved,” he said.
Meanwhile in Putrajaya, chief secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali directed all secretaries-general and directors-general to cancel their leave with immediate effect.
He said this followed the instructions by the prime minister to all Cabinet ministers to cancel their holiday plans.
“I hereby order the same (cancellation of leave) for secretaries-general of all ministries and directors-general of departments/agencies, with immediate effect,” he said in a statement here today.
Meanwhile, Amanah’s Salahuddin Ayub tweeted that ministers should have more empathy for flood victims.
“Instead of being instructed to return from abroad, they should come back immediately,” he said.
The Pulai MP added ministers should be more sensitive to the needs of the rakyat and “that’s the number one rule of being a minister”.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Malaysians had taken to social media to protest the prime minister’s handling of the severe floods that have left 41 dead so far and displaced more than 61,000 people with the “Do Not Donate To Government” hashtag trending on Twitter.
The phrase refers to a public fundraiser that the government launched earlier in the week to help the victims of the floods that worsened last weekend and continue to inundate parts of Peninsular Malaysia.
The gesture didn’t go down well on Twitter, which has become a go-to platform for citizens to coordinate rescue and aid efforts following the government’s slow response.
The emotions captured on Twitter echo the public fury and desperation that cut short Muhyiddin Yassin’s brief spell as premier this year after a few lockdowns that affected Malaysians badly.
In Selangor, one of the worst-hit areas, more than 3,000 residents were evacuated on the first day of the floods while many remained trapped due to lack of resources, according to opposition MP Charles Santiago.
Political cartoonist Zunar tweeted a video of a woman berating a minister over the government’s handling of the crisis.
“When the situation was critical and the water had reached our roofs, there wasn’t a single government agency that came,” she said in the video, which was shared more than 50,000 times.
Ismail has admitted to weaknesses in the federal agencies’ coordination efforts but said these would improve.
With more than 30,000 tweets on “Do Not Donate To Government”, the campaign hasn’t escaped the administration’s attention.
Women, family and community development minister Rina Harun, who had launched the fund, called it inappropriate.
“In situations like now, there is no need for such hashtags.
“Doesn’t matter who is doing it (raising money) as long as the recipients benefit and our aims are achieved,” Rina was quoted as saying by Bernama.
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