Suprise, unprecedented weather conditions inexcusable, ex-officials grill Nadma
It has been a week since the extreme weather conditions and unprecedented floods struck Malaysia but the blame-game over lack of preparedness and failure to manage the disaster continues among top officials.
A high-ranking official said the whole fiasco happened due to the misunderstanding of roles and responsibilities by those involved.
This official said the state, in this case Selangor, who is responsible over the disaster management did not do their job and lacked coordination.
“Selangor is completely clueless on how to manage the affair.
“If you look at the flood management in the east coast states, it’s quite clear who is supposed to do what,” he told Sinar Daily under the pretense of anonymity.
Acknowledging that this was a rare and unexpected event, the official said it was still inexcusable on how slow the response was after people realised how severe the situation had become.
However, retired high-ranking officials who had closely dealt with disasters in the past pointed the finger to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) instead.
One former official said if Nadma was just a secretariat like what the minister-in-charge said, then they should have been doing their job in monitoring the country’s conditions in regards to natural disasters, keeping the public informed and alerting them of possible situations but that was not the case.
“They should have been on standby when the Meteorological Department informed of heavy rains and continuous downpour prior to the actual event.
“Check on the intensity of the situation and disseminate warning messages to Malaysians just like how the the National Security Council (NSC) did for Covid-19.
“People say this is an after thought but it is not, we had information and predictions prior to the event but the Malaysians as a whole were not notified,” he told Sinar Daily.
Another ex-military man said what the Armed Forces Chief Tan Sri Affendi Buang did was exactly what needed to be done in times of urgency.
“People are asking where are you and why you are not here to save us.
“Authorities’ presence, aircraft, vehicles, boats and such needs to be seen amidst the chaos. Victims need to know that the authorities are with them.
“When you are in a disaster, you are lost. You want something to grab on. It is all about giving confidence and hope that they will survive this,” he said.
It was revealed by FMT that the armed forces had sprang into action on Friday to help evacuate flood victims to relief centres without Nadma’s directive.
The retired official said when managing a crisis, one needs to be at a certain level with the ability to see what will happen ‘beyond the now’ and estimate what can be done within the next 24 hours.
Criticising the ministers constant need for meetings on Friday night and Saturday morning, he said, the ministers including the Prime Minister himself should have gone down to ground zero and see things for himself.
“Use a helicopter to fly over the red zone. Once everyone is able to see it for themselves on how devastating the situation is, only then you do a meeting, do it on site.
“Everyone involved should be there to play their roles and address the weaknesses that has caused this,” he said.
He added that if Nadma cannot do its job then it should just be abolish and return the responsibility back to the NSC.