Prime Minister should investigate why the government was caught unprepared for the nation’s worst flood
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s directive to Cabinet ministers who are on vacation overseas to return home to mount operations to assist flood victims is a correct and necessary move.
Najib himself has earlier received a lot of pressures and criticisms for not returning immediately from America but he nevertheless made the right decision to return and take charge of the flood and rescue operations.
How could the Ministers continue to holiday when the Prime Minister himself has returned to assist in the flood rescue and relief operations?
Since the Ministers did not see it necessary to cut short their holidays, it was only right that they were ordered to do so.
Malaysians are still shocked that the nation could face such scale of flood without any prior warning from the meteorological department.
It was also very clear that the government was caught unprepared for such a disaster.
On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the flood mitigation standard operating procedure (SOP) must be reviewed in order to be better prepared in the future.
Has not the government learned any lessons from the past floods? What have happened to all the previous talks about better planning?
On Jan 31, 2011, Muhyiddin, who is also the National Disaster Management Committee chairman, directed the relevant government agencies to discuss and come out with a more efficient early warning system for flood disaster.
"The early warning system not only allows us to anticipate the flood, but also ensure a more efficient evacuation of flood victims and deployment of rescue assets," he told reporters after visiting a flood evacuation centre at Sekolah Agama Labis in Johore.
Then on Jan 18 this year, in his speech at the presentation of aid to flood victims in the Pekan parliamentary constituency, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said the cabinet had accepted the proposals from the national disaster management committee on improving managing floods, including implementing an early warning system and flood-mitigation projects.
He said in line with this effort, the government would ask the Malaysian Meteorological Department and Drainage and Irrigation Department to use the latest and sophisticated technology to ensure a more efficient and effective flood management system.
Najib was reported to have also said - "We must practise the principle of 'sediakan payung sebelum hujan' (to be prepared for any eventuality) to avoid facing a more difficult situation".
DAP has called for full public support to the Prime Minister led response to the flood. When the flood is over, the Prime Minister should conduct an inquiry to find out why the government was caught unprepared for the nation’s worst flood disaster and make public the findings.