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DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Penang High Court in George Town November 22, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng arrives at the Penang High Court in George Town November 22, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — DAP is calling for flood mitigation, disaster relief, rescue and recovery management to be decentralised, with states given an annual allocation of more than RM100 million or 20 per cent of their respective tax contributions.

Lim Guan Eng, the party’s secretary-general, suggested today that state governments can carry out flood mitigation, rescue and relief works more effectively, citing Penang as an example.

The former finance minister touted the DAP-led Penang government as stepping up to not only rescue and evacuate flood victims when disaster hit the island state on November 5, 2017, but also managed post-flood recovery efforts successfully.

“Most of the major cleaning up was done within a week and the situation normalised in a month,” Lim, who is also MP for Bagan, said in a statement.

“Prince Charles was so impressed when he visited Penang just after the floods that he even asked whether there was in fact a major flood disaster in Penang,” the DAP leader said, referring to the heir-apparent to the British monarchy who visited the state on November 6, nearly five years ago.

“Unless decentralisation is adopted, the sad cycle of Malaysians literally ‘drowning’ in flood disaster management failure will be repeated interminably with no end in sight,” Lim added.

The case for decentralisation was made over allegations that the federal government had responded poorly to the recent floods that hit most states in late November and early December last year.

Lim alleged the recent flood disaster in peninsular Malaysia highlighted Putrajaya’s failure in mitigation, rescue, relief and recovery management, which he argued led to the unnecessary deaths of 54 people.

Critics of the government had estimated the floods to have cost RM20 billion in economic losses. 

“Nothing highlights the failure of the Federal government more than the disappointing performance of the Prime Minister and Ministers who were either uninterested or uncaring and completely at a loss not knowing what to do,” Lim said.

“Who can forget the ridiculous optics of the prime minister refusing to step down from his car when visiting flood victims or Minister Rina Harun cleaning up an already clean area instead of the mud filled homes of flood victims?”

Lim suggested the blunders reflected a “systemic failure” of both the leadership and administration structure of the government led by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“There must be a paradigm shift from the present unworkable model where Putrajaya decides on how to conduct a rescue in their air-conditioned room hundreds of miles away,” he said.

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