KUALA LUMPUR: Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein has asked all parties to do better to help flood victims, stating that last year’s disaster in Taman Sri Muda, Shah Alam, should serve as a lesson to everyone.
Taman Sri Muda was one of the badly affected areas in last December’s floods, with more than 10 deaths recorded.
Central government agencies, such as the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma), were heavily criticised for their delay in helping victims, which was caused by communication problems between related agencies and difficulties entering flooded areas.
Speaking to reporters here, Hishammuddin said that all flood-related information needed to be conveyed directly to responsible parties, including directly to him.
He said such information should not merely be posted on social media, which saw various inaccurate allegations being spread.
“Use existing channels instead of just venting… This involves lives and property. It won’t help us if we only spread (such information) on social media,” he said.
“So let’s fix all the things that went wrong first, and I hope it is a lesson (we can learn) without undoing all the good work we’ve done in the past.
“The important thing is for all parties to work closely with us to provide information. If not directly to me, then to KJ (health minister Khairy Jamaluddin)… If not with KJ, then with my KSU (secretary-general),” he said at a press conference after visiting the Tuanku Mizan Military Hospital in Wangsa Maju.
He was asked about the army’s preparation to face the upcoming monsoon season and how it would avoid delays reported in a FMT article published after the floods.
Quoting a source, FMT reported that the army decided to go ahead with mobilising its resources in Selangor to help evacuate flood victims to temporary relief centres after waiting for a directive from Nadma.
Responding to the report, defence force chief Affendi Buang said at that time, 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 last December when asked if the army had received Nadma’s approval.