PEKAN, Malaysia - A committee will be set up to study the causes of the floods and make recommendations for a new standard operating procedure (SOP) to deal with such catastrophes in future, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the new SOP would be tailored towards handling massive floods such as the one that devastated the east coast states.
"The existing SOP is only for normal floods. We need a new SOP so we can be better prepared in the event a flood of such a scale happens again.
"We hope the new SOP can be tabled and passed in six months' time. It will include aspects such as command and control, assets to be deployed and also accurate and early weather forecast.
"Relevant agencies also have to be well-equipped and be on location once a potential disaster area has been determined," he said.
"If the armed forces is to become the main agency, then it will be supplied with appropriate facilities. At the same time, the aspect of weather forecasting must be more accurate and early so that we can provide early information," he said after visiting flood relief centres here yesterday.
Najib said there was a need for the causes of the floods to be known so plans and approvals for development projects could be modified to prevent damage to the environment.
"We will wait for the experts' report because it is not only one factor that caused the floods but multiple," he said.
Earlier at the Paloh Hinai National Youth Skills Institute relief centre, Najib said the people must have a new perspective in facing natural disasters and not merely point fingers at the Government.
"It is the joint responsibility of all in tackling the causes of the floods. It is about whether we are capable of respecting the rules and the law," said Najib before presenting Yayasan Pahang's special aid to 260 flood-affected schoolchildren.
Whether it was ore mining or farming, he said a sustainable development plan must be followed or the people would be the ones to take the brunt of the effect again.
Najib also advised flood victims to pay attention to their health by ensuring that the water and food they consumed were clean.
"I should have come for a visit much earlier but I, too, became a flood victim when I had e-coli infection and had to stay home," he said.