PAS Kelantan State Government should establish public inquiry into the handling of the 2014 Floods Catastrophe to find out the weaknesses, lapses and failures so that the state will be better prepared to face future flood disasters
In the floods disaster last year which hit the East Coast States, Kelantan faced the worst floods catastrophe within living memory in Malaysia.
Tonight’s launch of Gabungan Impian Kelantan comprising at present of 39 NGOs and political groups is the upshot of the 2014 Floods which saw the rise of the NGOs (non-government organizations) and NGIs (non-government individuals), both in Kelantan and elsewhere in Malaysia, who played a most sterling role in the floods catastrophe to come to the aid of the flood victims where the government failed in all three phases of a disaster management – response, relief and reconstruction.
It was not possible to avoid the 2014 floods catastrophe, but the damage could have been minimized as not to lead to the loss of 25 lives, creating a million floods victims with quarter of million flood evacuees, and causing billions of ringgit of damages if there had been better floods management preparedness and plans in all three phases of response, relief and reconstruction.
Furthermore I shudder to think of the damages and sufferings the people in Kelantan and other East Coast States had to undergo if NGOs and NGIs had not risen up to come to the aid of the stricken and stranded flood victims which the government had not been able to help, not for one day but for several days at a stretch, leaving the flood victims without food, water, shelter, electricity or communications.
This was why I had consistently called for the declaration of an emergency to centralize all resources whether assets or personnel, particularly military and police, to as to provide the quickest aid to the most needy as the first step of an adequate response to the worst floods catastrophe within living memory and why subsequently I also called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the causes and weaknesses, lapses and failures revealed by the floods catastrophe in terms of disaster management preparedness and planning.
If the Federal Government is not prepared to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2014 Floods, I would suggest that the PAS Kelantan State Government establish a public inquiry into the handling of the 2014 Floods Catastrophe to find out and document the weaknesses, lapses and failures so that the state will be better prepared to face future flood disasters – where NGOs and NGIs could recount their experiences and “horrors” which should an object lesson to ensure that such defects and unpreparedness do not recur in future.
It is useless and even laughable for the National Security Council (NSC) for instance to look for excuses for its weaknesses, lapses and failures in the 2014 floods by claiming that the Kelantan floods was like Japan’s 2011 tsunami.
There is just no comparison between the two.
The 2014 Kelantan floods were undoubtedly the worst in living memory in Malaysia, but it is totally ludicrous to compare it to the triple disasters of the 9.0 earthquake of March 11, 2011 in Japan off Tohoku, which generated a tsunami that swept away everything in its path and caused a nuclear disaster with the meltdown of Fukushima and other nuclear plants.
The triple catastrophes caused 15,889 deaths, 6,152 injured and 2,601 people missing across twenty prefectures, as well as over 127,290 buildings totally collapsed, with a further 272,788 buildings “half-collapsed” and another 747,989 buildings partially damaged.
The main tremor split highways, flattened buildings and ignited fires all over the northeastern Pacific coast. The ensuing tsunami wiped out entire villages.
As many as 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan were left without electricity and 1.5 million without water.
The World Bank estimated economic cost of the triple disasters in Japan in March 2011 as US$235 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in world history.
Although the 2014 floods catastrophe in Kelantan and the East Coast were undoubtedly the worst floods catastrophe within living memory in Malaysia, causing 25 deaths, a million flood victims, a quarter-of-million evacuees and billions of ringgit of losses, including the reduction of a few kampongs like Manek Urai, Kampong Manjur and Kampung Karangan in Kuala Krai into Ground Zero, they were no comparison to the triple earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdown apocalypses in Japan in March 2011.
Federal Government officials should stop comparing the 2014 Floods with the triple catastrophes of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan in 2011, for this will only undermine their credibility and whatever case they are putting up.
Instead of looking for excuses by making the false and ludicrous claim that Malaysia had not done too badly, as the recent floods catastrophe was like Japan’s 2011 apocalypse of triple earthquake, tsunami and nuclear catastrophes, Malaysian leaders should wake up from their complacency and comfort zone and learn from the lessons, mistakes and failures of Disaster Management in all three phases of response, relief and reconstruction in the 2014 Floods Catastrophe.
Both the Federal and State Governments should acknowledge the great contributions played by the NGOs and NGIs who had provided invaluable and irreplaceable service to the flood victims at their greatest hour of need when the government system of relief, aid and support had just collapsed together with the collapse of the government chain of command and communications.
There can be no dispute that if not for the sterling and self-less contributions of the NGOs and NGIs, regardless of race, religion and region, to come the aid of the needy in the Floods 2014, the damage and sufferings of the flood victims would be immensely greater.
The Gabungan Impian Kelantan, with Datuk Ambiga Sreenivasan and National Laureate Pak Samad Said as the chief spokespersons, Datuk Husam Musa as the Chief Executive, with the support of 39 NGOs and political groups, is poised to blaze the path for a greater role by the civil society in the decision-making process about the future of the country,
The DAP Impian Kelantan team involved with Gabungan Impian Kelantan are:
Ketua – DAP National Organising Secretary Anthony Loke MP;
Members: DAP National Vice Chairperson Teresa Kok MP;
DAP Director of Political Education Liew Chin Tong MP;
DAP Asst National Organising Secretary: Vincent Wu;
Young Syefura (Rara); and
Dr. Tajuddin Shaffee (Kedah).
Impian Kelantan is born out of the two convictions: Firstly, Malaysia cannot be progressive and prosperous if Kelantan continues to be poor and backward in infrastructure development.
Kelantan’s GDP per capita is less than one-third of Malaysia’s GDP per capita – in fact less than one-seventh of Federal Territory Kuala Lumpur’s GDP per capita. This is completely unacceptable.
Secondly, that the people and state of Kelantan are entitled to the right to development compared to other states and not to be relegated as Malaysia’s poorest state.
IMPIAN KELANTAN is an integral part of IMPIAN MALAYSIA, as IMPIAN MALAYSIA cannot achieve its goal of an united, harmonious, progressive, prosperous and competitive Malaysia unless IMPIAN KELANTAN of a developed state, in both spiritual and developmental sense, are also achieved through the principle of “All for One, and One for All”.