KOTA BAHARU, Dec 26 – Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin flew into flood-ravaged Kelantan today and ordered the deployment of more helicopters, boats and land vehicles to reach and help the affected people. Describing the floods as worse than anticipated, he said the air, water and land transportation assets currently deployed were inadequate to face the floods of such proportions.
“The National Security Council (NSC) will look into this. We are using seven helicopters…these may not be enough. The boats on the ground may not be enough. The logistics facilities must be stepped up,” he told reporters after a visit to the flood relief centre at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pengkalan Chepa 1 here.
Muhyiddin was given a briefing on the flood situation in Kelantan at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport in Pengkalan Chepa soon after he flew in to take a first-hand look at the intensity of the second wave of floods this year. As of today, more than 32,000 people had been moved out of their homes in Kelantan after the floods stuck on Dec 16.
Altogether, more than 100,000 people have been evacuated in the country, taking into account those moved out in Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis. Accompanying Muhyiddin were International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed; Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim; Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.
Muhyiddin also ordered that food and other supplies at all flood relief centres be raised from the present three-day stock to one week to avert a shortage and the need to make frequent deliveries to these centres. “There is adequate supply of food at the relief centres. However, increasing the stock will alleviate the need to make frequent deliveries, which can be hampered by the fast-flowing floodwaters and the bad weather,” he said.
He cited some of the food supplies which had to be stocked up as sardines, rice and eggs, and said he had instructed the Social Welfare Department to do this quickly. He also said that the NSC had been instructed to buy as many units of power bank as possible for the use of secretariat staff at the relief centres to maintain constant communication link through smartphones.
The deputy prime minister also said that priority must be given to the supply of fresh water to the relief centres and diesel must be sent immediately to the centres where power was supplied by generators. He said the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry would step up the supply of diesel to premises where there was a critical shortage, such as the 10 hospitals affected by the floods.
Muhyiddin also said that the relocation of patients from the flood-hit hospitals would be looked into urgently. He advised the people affected by the floods in Kelantan to exercise patience as they waited for this disaster of unexpected proportions to ease. “Whatever the situation, we will handle it. The important thing is to save lives. No life should be lost through our negligence.
“I also hope that the people will perform ‘solat hajat’ prayers for the good of all,” he said. Muhyiddin said he hoped that the PAS-led Kelantan government would work with the federal government to address the flood issue for the well-being of the people. He also said that it was hoped that the RM50-million immediate allocation from the Finance Ministry for the flood-affected states would be put to good use for the welfare of the people.
The deputy prime minister dismissed claims that Kelantan had been neglected in terms of the flood issue, and said the welfare and safety of the affected people was a priority of the federal government. “This has nothing to do with politics. We do not think in terms of Umno or PAS.
We look at it from the people’s point of view, whether it be Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang or Perak. Whichever state is affected by the floods, we help as fairly as possible,” he said. Muhyiddin expressed his appreciation to the personnel from all the agencies involved in the flood relief operations.