KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 21 – The government should duly act to set up a National Water Safety Council (NWSC) in light of the growing number of drowning cases in the country, said Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye. Lee who is National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman described the current situation as worrying, “yet it continued to be ignored”.
In a statement Sunday, he noted the absence of an authority to deal with the worrying trend unlike road accident cases where a number of departments and agencies had been accorded certain jurisdiction. He further noted that the mission of the Fire and Rescue Department and police in any drowning, “which happens almost every month” was only to respond to rescue calls or reports.
Lee said the proposed NWSC should comprise representatives of government agencies, non governmental organisations, voluntary organisations and the public sector. He said the NWSC could function among others to promote swimming as a critical living skill particularly among students and teaching them basic rescue skills that could save lives in an emergency.
In the latest drowning incident, five members of a family perished during a picnic at the Belukar Bukit waterfall in Hulu Terengganu Saturday afternoon. The victims were an engineer and imam Abdul Halim Samian, 44, his wife Nurul Adila@Salawati Awang, 39, and their three daughters Nurul Arifah Abdul Halim, 16, Nurul Aina Abdul Halim, 11, and Nurul Izah Abdul Halim, 10.