KUANTAN, Dec 5 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak took a helicopter ride for an aerial view of the floods in his home state of Pahang after hastily leaving the Umno General Assembly he had opened in Kuala Lumpur earlier Thursday.
The Umno president called at three relief centres, in Pekan and Rompin, and said the government was prepared to consider a special aid for the people affected by the floods which had lashed Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.
“We will look into the appropriate aid,” he told reporters when asked whether the government was going to provide any special assistance as it had done previously.
Najib stopped by at the relief centres at Sekolah Menengah Sains Sultan Ahmad Shah Pekan, Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Miang, Pekan, and Sekolah Kebangsaan Sungai Puteri in Rompin.
Asked about insufficient and delayed relief supplies at several evacuation centres, Najib said this happened because the floods covered a wide area and many major roads were cut off, but the situation has since improved and there was adequate foodstuff and other aid at the centres.
“I found out on my visit (to the respective relief centres) that the process of giving aid to the victims has been going on smoothly.
“The evacuees have been accorded what can be regarded as satisfactory treatment by all quarters, including the state government, district offices and government agencies,” he said.
Asked for his comment on government departments such as the Welfare Department not having enough supply of foodstuff as they were bound by the rules of the National Audit Department, Najib said:
“We make an exemption (from the rules) because this is an emergency. In an emergency, we have to buy foodstuff immediately,” he said.
Najib was asked to comment on the remark by Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob yesterday that the Welfare Department and other relevant government departments did not have enough stocks of foodstuff and had to make purchases at shops to send to the relief centres due to the tight rules imposed by the National Audit Department. The prime minister said it was acknowledged that there had been problems initially in despatching foodstuff and basic necessities but everything had been sorted out today.
“We had limited resources. The major roads were cut off. We were unable to use the normal vehicles. Even three-tonne lorries could not get through to the relief centres. We had to use bigger vehicles.
“There is a lesson learnt. We have to use much bigger vehicles to get through the floods,” he said.
Asked about Kuantan coming to a standstill two days ago due to what was seen as an ineffective drainage system, Najib said the unusually heavy rain was a cause of the severe floods in the Pahang capital.
“The drainage system was working, but the volume of water became too large due to the unusually heavy rain,” he said.
The prime minister advised the people to remain alert at all times in view of predictions that there could be a second wave of floods.
“Adhere to the guidelines and warnings of the state flood relief committee chaired by the menteri besar. Simply follow the instructions (of the authorities),” he said.