KUALA LUMPUR – Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the federal government would assist any state affected by disasters such as floods based on humanitarian grounds and responsibility.
The prime minister said the federal government would immediately channelled aid to the state governments, including those administered by the opposition parties without the need for the state government to request it.
The worst floods that hit Penang following continuous heavy rains yesterday that saw more than 2,000 victims being evacuated, prompted its Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to contact Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at about 3.30am requesting assistance from the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) and the National Security Council (MKN) to help flood victims in Penang.
Najib said ATM would provide the necessary assistance and ATM chief Gen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Nor himself would be leaving for Penang this afternoon.
“Everything will be coordinated by the National Security Council and we will assist flood victims and we will look into their needs,” he told a news conference after launching the field hospital building and operating mission to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh here today.
The prime minister also inspected the dry-run of the field hospital’s operation which was held at the Tunku Mizan Zainal Abidin ATM Hospital here.
Asked on the strength of military personnel to be deployed to Penang, Najib said the matter would be determined by the Armed Forces chief.
Also present were Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, ATM chief Gen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Afffandi Raja Mohamed Nor, MKN director-general Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Meanwhile Hishammuddin said the flood issue should not be politicised by any parties because it was the responsibility of the government to channel aid.
“Penang Chief Minister (Lim Guan Eng) don’t worry because we are serious about helping them in that state,” he said.
Hishammuddin, who is also Special Functions Minister, through a posting on his official Facebook account, said the 509 Territorial Army monitoring team was deployed as early as 1.30 am while the operations room was activated at 4.30 am to channel assistance.
Elaborating further, Raja Mohamed Affandi said over 200 military personnel had been deployed to several areas in Penang to help flood victims in that state.
“Personnel and assets have been deployed early this morning and we are ready to increase personnel at any time and will focus on providing relief during the post floods later,” he said.
Strong winds and heavy rain lashed Penang since yesterday, causing unprecedented floods in several areas that have resulted in three deaths and the evacuation of over 2,000 people.
Almost the whole of Penang was struck by floods, with the floodwaters rising to between 0.2 and one metre in several areas, following strong winds and heavy rain since 2 pm yesterday that uprooted trees as well.
It is feared that the situation may only worsen as the weatherman has forecast more rain for the state over the next day or two.
In Kedah, some 1,025 flood victims were evacuated to 24 flood relief centres in three districts — Kulim, Kuala Muda and Gurun — following continuous rain since yesterday.