The current “clueless” government has proven to be more adept at triggering crises than addressing them, Rafidah Aziz said today.
The former international trade and industry minister said the government had shown its inability to properly address the needs of people affected by the floods.
“As usual, there is no coherence here in addressing national issues, as reflected in the inability and impotence of the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to grasp the seriousness of this national disaster, emphasising costs at a time when lives and livelihoods are at stake.
“All that the government seems to understand is to fall back on cash handouts, when people have lost their clothes and wouldn’t even be able to shop for things, with roads and vehicles badly damaged.”
After the torrent of rain over the weekend that flooded numerous areas of the country, the government has come under fire over its weak and slow response. Days after the rain stopped on Saturday evening, many people are still trapped in their homes and waiting for help to arrive.
“Clearly, this is not a government that can be depended upon as the supposed head of the ‘Malaysian Family’,” Rafidah said in a statement.
“It clearly cannot effectively manage crises. The government itself has proven to be the trigger for crises even during its short tenure.”
She added that the focus must be on what the people were crying out for, that is food, clothes and daily necessities.
She also hit out at spending of public funds for “unproductive launchings and publicity stunts”, in an apparent reference to youth and sports minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu’s public launch of a flood relief drive.
She said all ministries should be mobilising agencies under their purview to plan and execute the necessary recovery and repair work, as well as contributing to the ongoing rescue efforts.
The former Wanita Umno chief is just one of many voices criticising the poor handling of the disaster which hit many parts of the peninsula.
In a strongly-worded statement, National Patriots Association president Mohamed Arshad Raji criticised special functions minister Abdul Latiff Ahmad and Nadma, which he oversees, for their failure in addressing the major floods that have hit several states.
“If Nadma is claiming it was not set up to manage the flood situation, then disband Nadma and sack the highly paid minister.
“This is not the time to shift responsibility to others,” Arshad told FMT.
Latiff had previously been quoted as saying that Nadma was not directly involved in dealing with natural disasters such as floods at the state level, and was largely responsible for providing compensation after being provided information by relevant state authorities.
Arshad said he was surprised by the “sloppiness” of the authorities in reacting towards the flood relief efforts.
He added that there was a substantial delay before the authorities took any action.
“Were the relevant ministries asleep, or is that they just couldn’t care less?,” he asked