Call for Royal Commission of Inquiry into Floods Disaster Management Preparedness as Federal government completely overwhelmed by scale and scope of current floods disaster with number of flood victims increasing by over 1,000% to a quarter of a million people in less than ten days
DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the country’s Floods Disaster Management Preparedness as it is very clear that the Federal government had been completely overwhelmed by the scale and scope of the current floods disaster, with the number of flood victims increasing by over 1,000 per cent to almost a quarter of a million people in less than ten days.
Evidence of the Federal Government being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the scale and scope of the current floods disaster is aplenty, as illustrated by the following instances:
- Admission by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the floods disaster was “worse than anticipated”’;
- Admission by Muhyiddin that the flood mitigation standard operating procedure (SOP) must be reviewed in order to be better prepared in the future;
- Muhyiddin’s proposal that Malaysia should learn more about disaster management system of other countries, especially Japan and South Korea, as they were known to have the best disaster management system in the world – a belated and very expensive discovery by a coalition which had been in power for 57 years!
- The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak forced to cut short his vacation in Hawaii to take charge of the national floods disaster – although the government had been warning of the worst floods in decades in the days and weeks before the floods disaster.
- The Prime Minister’s directive yesterday to recall all Ministers vacationing abroad so as to work immediately to help manage the flood crisis.
- The follow-up directive today to all top civil servants and heads of agencies to return from their holidays to assist in flood relief efforts.
As I had mentioned before, my focus until I visited Kota Bahru yesterday to help in the flood relief mission were on achieving three objectives:
Firstly, to persuade the Prime Minister to cut short his vacation in Hawaii to return to Malaysia to take personal charge of the flood disaster relief operation;
Secondly, to seek a special Cabinet meeting on the floods disaster;
Thirdly, to persuade the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency to deal with the nation’s worst floods disaster in recent history.
The first of the three objectives had been achieved.
It had been asked whether it was necessary for the Prime Minister to cut short his vacation in Hawaii to take personal charge of the national flood relief operation.
The answer is a loud and categorical positive. One proof is Najib’s announcement of RM500 million as special aid for flood victims in the states affected by the floods disaster, when two days earlier, the Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah could only announce a RM50 million allocation for the states being ravaged by the floods disaster.
This incident alone vindicates the DAP call that Najib should cut short his vacation in Hawaii to take personal charge of the national flood relief operation, for neither Muhiddin nor Husni would have the authority to announce the RM500 million allocation.
The question is whether Najib’s announcement of RM500 million allocation is additional to the RM50 million allocation announced by Husni, or is inclusive of Husni’s RM50 million allocation. Can Husni clarify this or we must seek direct clarification from Najib?
I welcome Najib’s recall of Cabinet Ministers vacationing from abroad when the country and people are facing the worst floods in decades.
It reminds me of the earlier cancellation by the Russian President Vladimir Putin of the holiday vacations for ministers and officials as Russia was currently dealing with the worst economic crisis in more than a decade.
It would not be possible for any special Cabinet meeting on the floods disaster to be held if many Cabinet Ministers are abroad on holiday.
But will Najib be able to convene a special Cabinet meeting on the floods disaster before Wednesday on Dec. 31 or will he have to wait until January 7 as he could not get all the Ministers to return to the country before then?
My third objective was to get the Prime Minister to declare a state of emergency over the floods disaster so as to enable a full and fast mobilisation of flood relief efforts at federal, state and local level with full public support.
However, Najib’s reason for not declaring an emergency is that an emergency would absolve insurance companies from paying compensation arising from damages to property and vehicles.
Najib’s reasoning is not convincing at all and I would urge the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision, or to table the issue as an agenda for a special Cabinet meeting on the floods disaster, as well as to take into account public reactions to date both from the insurance industry as well as the public.
The following view of an insurance agent, which is representative of the general public, should be given serious consideration by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet:
“Saya banyak menerima soalan yang berkaitan isu darurat yang dikatakan tidak dapat diisytiharkan supaya mangsa-mangsa banjir dapat membuat tuntutan insurans.
“Katanya, jika darurat diisytiharkan maka syarikat insurans berhak menolak tuntutan yg dibuat.
“Ini pandangan saya:
+ Betul, memang dalam banyak polisi insurans seperti insurans kenderaan, insurans perniagaan, insurans bangunan, insurans kemalangan meletakkan darurat sebagai salah satu situasi yang dikecualikan untuk dibuat tuntutan.
+ Tapi dalam masa sama, berdasarkan pengalaman saya sebenarnya majoriti pelanggan sangat jarang mengambil coverage tambahan bencana banjir yang membolehkan mereka membuat tuntutan jika kerosakan akibat banjir. Jadi, sama ada isytihar darurat atau pun tidak, majoriti besar pengguna memang tidak dapat membuat tuntutan kerana tidak mengambil insurans yang cover banjir.
+ Banjir sudah masuk hari ke-5 dan sekiranya darurat diisytiharkan hari ini 27/12/2014, mangsa-mangsa banjir masih boleh membuat tuntutan sebab kerosakan berlaku SEBELUM darurat diisytiharkan. Jadi, syarikat insurans / takaful dan ejen serta staff boleh memberi pengetahuan (educate) kpd pelanggan supaya meletakkan tarikh berlaku kerosakan SEBELUM tarikh darurat diisytiharkan.
+ Situasi sekarang sangat genting memandangkan majoriti yang terlibat dari kalangan orang-orang kampung, orang-orang miskin, rakyat marhaen yang melibatkan nyawa. Jadi menjadikan alasan insurans sebagai penghalang darurat diisytiharkan bukanlah tindakan terbaik kerana nyawa majoriti rakyat lebih penting berbanding kerosakan bangunan / kenderaan utk claim insurans.
+ Statistik menunjukkan kadar penembusan insurans takaful hanya sekitar 15% sahaja di kalangan rakyat bumiputera. Dan majoriti penduduk Kelantan adalah Melayu Bumiputera. Maka alasan "insurans tak boleh claim kalau darurat" hanya menjaga kepentingan minoriti berbanding kepentingan majoriti rakyat yang langsung tidak memiliki insurans. Apatah lagi insurans melibatkan coverage banjir.
+ Situasi-situasi di atas hanya melibatkan claim yg berkaitan insurans / takaful am seperti kenderaan, bangunan, isi rumah dan sebagainya. Manakala jika insurans hayat atau takaful keluarga, pemegang polisi tetap boleh claim sekiranya berlaku musibah.
“KESIMPULAN: Menggunakan alasan "insurans tidak boleh claim kalau isytihar darurat", bukanlah alasan yang kukuh utk tidak mengisytiharkan darurat.”