Prime concern for flood mitigation project after country faced worst flooding ever: Najib

KEMAMAN: Flood mitigation projects will be prioritised under the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government would have to make this a top priority after the country faced one of the worst flooding incidents in its history.

"Each relevant department and agency will first have to present us with a report on the floods.

"The earliest we can plan for flood mitigation projects is in the 11th Malaysia Plan.

"As we have just experienced very serious floods in several states, these mitigation projects will surely be given top priority over others.

"But this will also be subjected to the Government's funding capabilities. As we know, flood mitigation projects cost millions of ringgit," Najib told reporters after visiting the SK Bukit Mentok and Kemaman Municipal Council flood evacuation centres here yesterday.

Praising the way the flood situation had been managed in Kemaman, he urged other areas to refer to the district as a model.

"Kemaman is able to uphold a high standard in managing floods with planning as early as April.

"This included preparing enough landing points for rescue helicopters, adequate forward depots, extra generators and even the provision of sleeping bags for the comfort of evacuees," he said.

Najib, who also attended a briefing with the Kemaman flood steering committee, said the flood warning system needed to be reviewed.

"During the floods, the waters were said to have risen so quickly that within 20 to 30 minutes, it was already four feet high.

"We need to review the SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) of the warning system. If there are early signs of flood, then we must take action to inform people at first notice," he said, urging the public to take serious heed of these warnings and react immediately.

In TANAH MERAH, Najib reaffirmed the Government's commitment to distribute assistance to flood victims, urging the public to remain calm.

In PETALING JAYA, the Finance Ministry said RM70mil had been allocated to the National Disaster Relief Fund under Budget 2015.

This, it said in a statement, was on top of the RM217mil the fund - managed by the National Security Council (MKN) - had as at Dec 15.

"There were claims that the Government had only set aside RM9.3mil to the fund under the Budget. This is not true.

"The amount quoted is meant for the administrative expenses for the running of the council's national disaster division such as the payment of salaries and allowances," said its secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.

The actual allocation, said Dr Mohd Irwan, was RM70mil (S$26.5 million), adding that as announced on Dec 24, the ministry, via the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU), had also channelled a special RM50mil allocation when the flood situation worsened.

The Prime Minister had approved a further RM500mil to be managed by MKN and to provide further assistance to those affected, he added.