KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 1 – The Home Ministry hopes that the standard operating procedure (SOP) involving disasters will be part of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) Summit 2015 agenda. Its deputy minister Datuk Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said there had always been some constraints when some countries wanted to extend aid to those affected by a disaster.
“We see this as red tape (when there are countries wanting to help). So what is most important is the mentality of countries in accepting aid when others wish to help in times of disaster. “I am confident that after this, part of the Asean Summit 2015 agenda will be for a coordinated cross-border aid structure. We are hopeful of this. Actually, the SOP should have existed since 2005,” he said. Wan Junaidi was speaking to reporters after opening the 12th Asian Crisis Management Conference (ACMC) Kuala Lumpur 2014, here, Wednesday.
Also present were the Home Ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohamad Khalid Shariff and the Malaysia Civil Defence Department’s (JPAM) director-general Datuk Zaitun Ab Samad. Twelve working papers on crisis management were being presented at the two-day conference with more than 100 participants from eight countries. Wan Junaidi said each country should have its own SOP on handling disasters, besides a special SOP in the case of other countries offering aid and expertise in any humanitarian mission.
“If there are others willing to help, we should coordinate the assistance and ease our procedure, as long as we have our own SOP and another SOP for others who come to help. “The SOP is important as we may not have certain things that we need and also certain expertise,” he said. Malaysia will be the Asean chairman in 2015 and it will also host the Asean Summit that year.
Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi said the technology used by JPAM needed to be upgraded in keeping with the times, hence also easing its rescue operations. “Training is always available but it must be backed up by better technology and equipment. “Our country faces unpredictable weather conditions, so disasters can happen any time, and we have to be prepared,” he said.