PM Ismail Sabri: I was on the ground since day one of floods, but many Opposition MPs missing

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Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob addresses members of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 15, 2021. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob addresses members of Parliament in Kuala Lumpur September 15, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob took a swipe at Opposition MPs in Parliament today, claiming many of them were missing during the flood crisis that hit the nation last month.

His remarks caused several Pakatan Harapan (PH) MPs to stand up to protest the accusation.

Ismail Sabri said he was already on the ground from the first day the floods hit the country last December 18 and was working closely with the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) on the developing situation.

“Many claimed that they did not see my face during the floods, but I have been on the ground from day one.

“I don’t know about the others. I did not see some MPs and assemblymen... they went missing at that time,” he said, drawing uproar from Mohamad Sabu (Parti Amanah Negara-Kota Raja) and Khalid Samad (Amanah-Shah Alam), and Gobind Singh Deo (DAP-Puchong) on the Opposition bench.

The prime minister’s address was interrupted several times by Opposition MPs who protested his remarks.

The Special Meeting of the Fourth Term of the 14th Parliament session for the Dewan Rakyat today was set to discuss post-flood efforts, coordination of aid to the public and long-term flood mitigation planning

Ismail Sabri then blamed the weaknesses at the state and district levels in Selangor for the lacklustre disaster response to the floods.

He said during the same period, Pahang saw worse flooding but managed the disaster well.

The prime minister pointed out that according to the protocols set by the National Security Council, the local command and control for disaster management lies with the respective district police chief and district Fire and Rescue Department officer.

He said if the district disaster management committee is unable to cope with the situation, it must inform the state disaster management committee that more help is needed.

He then added that preparations for the floods had been made in a series of meetings as early as September.

“The Meteorological Department issued six weather warnings of continuous heavy rain. However, the weather warnings were ignored by certain quarters directly involved in disaster management due to an assumption that only east coast states will be affected by flooding brought about by heavy rain from the monsoon,” he said.

Malaysia is estimated to have suffered total losses of between RM5.3 billion and RM6.5 billion so far due to the recent flood emergency that hit the Klang Valley and multiple states in the country.

The death toll from the severe floods that swept the country last month now stands at 54 with at least two people still missing.

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