RM50 million spent on assets acquisition to face floods

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

She said it included purchases, among others, amphibious boats, rescue boats of various sizes, four-wheel drive, five and seven-tonne lorries as well as cubicle tents.

"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 held for the community and so far involve 6,000 participations in 12 locations besides aid efforts at the disaster being standardised," he told the Dewan Rakyat today.

She was replying to a question from Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew (PH-Wangsa Maju) on measures being taken to face the possibility of monsoonal floods at year's end.

Replying to a supplementary question from Tan on the government's short and long term measures to mitigate the adverse impact of floods, Dr Wan Azizah said it was crucial for the country to have a better and accurate forecasting system to reduce the risks of disasters from taking place.

However, she said the government was in the process of modernising the National Disaster Command Centre via the Disaster Recovery Centre, which is expected to be ready before September 2019.

She said it was one of the improvements made by the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) in facing 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 besides conducting capacity building programmes through the MySMART Hero programme by raising the awareness level to face disasters among kindergarten teachers and students, she said.

Meanwhile the deputy prime minister said the government would also seek to coordinate assistance better with the NGOs to ensure the channeling of aid 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 get to be delivered by politicians going to the ground and taking pictures (for publicity)," she said. — Bernama