KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — With hundreds of Kelantan families still forced to live in tents six months after the recent flood disaster, it is clear that Putrajaya’s post-flood reconstruction effort has fallen far short of expectations, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said.
The civil society activist said it was “ridiculous” that the federal government has constructed so few homes so far, when six months has already lapsed since the disaster.
“I am very disappointed with the federal government, it’s ridiculous that only 19 houses have been built as of May… That’s not what we would expect of a respectable government,” she said at the announcement of a fundraising dinner for the Kelantan flood victims, led by DAP’s charity arm Impian Kelantan.
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang also said that Putrajaya’s efforts were insufficient, adding that they did not have a “first-world mindset” to efficiently help natural disaster victims, calling the relief efforts “scandalous.”
“Another five years, we will join the ranks of those who call themselves developed nations. Where is there a developed nation?
“How can Malaysia join the ranks of developed nations with such scandalous state of affairs? We don’t have that first world mentality because we see it as taking how many years (to rebuild homes),” he said.
Ambiga added that the new homes for the flood victims must be completed by December to ensure Kelantan residents have adequate shelter when floods are likely to hit the state again.
“Helping the people of Kelantan has to be above politics and my concern is that so few programmes are being made to help the people of Kelantan and we know we have another six months before December when we may see more floods. What are these people going to do?” she said.
Lim echoed Ambiga’s sentiment, adding that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak should improve the standard operating procedures (SOP) for natural disaster relief efforts to ensure faster response.
“There needs to be a new SOP for all disasters, on how immediately the government can come to their immediate help. I call on the prime minister to convene an urgent Cabinet meeting to look into this matter,” he said.
This comes after Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday that only 33 new houses have been built for the Kelantan’s 1,900 flood victims so far.
He said the government was well aware that the number of units built still lags behind the intended target but said Putrajaya was committed to see it through.
Previously, Putrajaya had said that of the 261 units of new permanent houses to be built by the federal government for flood victims in Kelantan, 168 will be handed over before Aidilfitri, in late August.
The 261 units are part of the first phase of 1,255 housing units to be built by the federal government for flood victims in Kelantan.
The remaining houses will be built by the Kelantan government.