December 28, 2021
KUALA LUMPUR – A week after a series of deadly floods swept most of Peninsular Malaysia, some victims claim they have yet to receive aid.
Laksa seller Rohkiah Abdul Aziz said she and her husband Rashdan Iswandi, as well as their neighbours, were turned away by officers at a relief camp in Selangor when they went there to get hot meals and some necessities. They were told that the items were only for those living in a specific area.
“They told us to wait for help in our area and wouldn’t budge although there were leftovers and unclaimed food. So we had no choice but to go back (home in Kampung Kubu Gajah),” she told The Straits Times on Monday (Dec 27), the ninth day since they were affected by the floods.
“Not even one government agency or lawmaker has come to help. We now see their true colours.”
Madam Rohkiah said that to be eligible for aid, you had to fill up three forms – one to the district officer, one to the assemblyman’s service centre and one to the Islamic tithe authority.
“All the forms were filled on Dec 20… but it’s been a week and we haven’t heard from anyone,” she said.
Selangor was one of the worst-hit areas in the country’s heaviest rainfall in the past 100 years.
As at Monday (Dec 27), 48 people have died due to the floods while five were still missing.
In total, 22,573 people took shelter on Monday, down from 35,076 on Sunday.
Although there are now fewer evacuees in relief centres across five states – Selangor, Kelantan, Pahang, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan – many are bracing for the possibility of a second wave of floods.
A special task force has been set up to improve coordination, including in providing assistance to flood victims and in preparing for more floods.
“I call on the relevant agencies and departments that manage cash assistance to simplify the process and eliminate the bureaucratic red tape. They (flood victims) are already in hardship, do not inconvenience them,” Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters on Sunday.
Malaysia is seeking US$3 million (S$4 million) from the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) to develop a national plan that will help the country adapt to climate change, the environment ministry said last week, amid deadly floods that displaced nearly 70,000 people this month.
The funds requested are paltry relative to the amount the country has pledged to spend on flood mitigation efforts, although experts say the plan’s implementation would likely cost much more, reported Reuters.
Meanwhile, some Malaysians have criticised the Prime Minister and some ministers for their publicity stunts while visiting affected areas.
A clip of Datuk Seri Ismail digging up some dirt and then passing the spade to a Fire Department officer after just one shovel went viral on Monday, drawing criticism of the government.
Mr Ismail had visited the Hulu Langat area on Sunday as part of his “Keluarga Malaysia” communal clean-up programme.
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Earlier, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Harun was criticised for posing with a water jet at a school that is being used as a flood relief centre.
The Welfare Department, which is under Datuk Seri Rina’s ministry, came to her defence, saying that she had used the water jet to remove lizard and bird droppings.
Opposition lawmaker Hannah Yeoh called the move “disappointing” and demeaning to the department’s officers.
“I know many JKM officers who are very dedicated to performing their duties. Many work hard to take good care of the flood evacuation centres,” Madam Yeoh tweeted, referring to the department’s Malay acronym.
“But the minister’s stunt degraded the dignity of JKM employees. It’s not fair to them,” said the former women’s minister.