Govt wants private halls to be used as flood relief centres

PUTRAJAYA - The Government is seeking the assistance of owners of private halls in flood-prone areas to allow their premises to be used as relief centres.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin said owners of huge empty buildings were also welcome to offer their premises, adding that more relief centres were needed, especially during massive floods.

"They (the owners) can describe it as their CSR (corporate social responsibility) initiative.

"It will provide those affected by the floods with more comfort as they will not have to stay in cramped conditions," he said after chairing the National Disaster Management Committee meeting here yesterday.

The owners, said Muhyiddin, could register their premises with the local authorities for use, adding that these could also be converted into storage facilities for supplies during floods.

"We also want volunteers, including NGOs who have been active in helping flood victims, to register with the local authorities for coordination purposes," he said.

The meeting, he said, also agreed that all Government agencies would be roped in during floods, especially in managing relief centres.

Presently, only certain agencies, such as the Welfare Department, the Civil Defence Department, army, the Fire and Rescue Department and police, are involved.

On another matter, Muhyiddin, who is also Education Minister, called on school bus operators who had increased their fares despite the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) rejecting their application to reconsider their action.

"SPAD has not made any decision and they (school bus operators) should not act unilaterally. What they are doing will only burden the pupils and the public," he said, adding that both sides should meet to resolve the issue.

It was reported that several school bus operators in Penang and Johor had already increased their fares by between RM10 (S$3.80) and RM20 per month.