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Higher Investments in Flood & Disaster Mitigation Programmes

Press Release

The serious flooding causing severe damage and untold hardship to people and businesses in States up north, particularly in Penang, over the weekend is a wake-up call to the Federal and State authorities nationwide to give greater emphasis and increase allocations towards improving flood and disaster mitigation in the country.

While the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) commends the Federal and State Governments for working together to help the rakyat in Penang, we also note with concern the following media reports:

  • The Penang State Government does not have adequate manpower and equipment to handle the floods;
  • There is need to review the existing standard operating procedures on handling of state disaster to ensure more effective coordination; and
  • The existing drainage system in Penang could not accommodate the huge flow of water during heavy rain.

Identifying these constraints are the first steps towards improving the nation’s current flood and disaster mitigation system, including improvements to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) for more effective monitoring and early warning systems. Given that the MMD had issued weather alerts since November 1, 2017, it would appear that follow-up actions had not been adequate. A faster reaction time could have been better. Early alerts and warnings should have triggered the necessary follow-up actions, especially to set up relief centres and early evacuation of high risk areas. Hence, we are most concerned over effective coordination and mobilisation of resources.

Higher investments in flood and disaster mitigation programmes should be carried out concurrently with the increase in land development, especially in ensuring an efficient drainage system and diligent maintenance on a regular basis. This is the first mitigation measure against flooding and escalation into a disaster.

FMM therefore urges the Federal Government and ALL State Governments to quickly call for an emergency meeting to review, address and implement corrective as well as preventive measures to improve flood and disaster mitigation programmes and standard operating procedures in the country.

November 7, 2017

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