February 14, 2009 00:05 AM
Disaster Aid Best Example Of A Caring Government - Najib
MIRI, Feb 13 (Bernama) – The Federal government annually providing a RM200 million allocation for disaster aid is the best example of a caring government, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
He said the money was for rehabilitating damaged or destroyed infrastructure and facilities and the biggest amount spent this year was for Sarawak, which experienced flood disasters lately.
“The RM200 million is a fixed amount. Each time the amount drops, it is topped up and we will see whether it will be made part of the mini-budget to be table in Parliament on March 10 or part of special allocations,” he told reporters after presenting financial aid to victims of the Kampung Lereng Bukit landslide disaster at the Miri Red Crescent Society centre in Krokop here Friday.
At the function, Najib also handed over compassionate financial aid for disasters to the Residents of the Miri, Limbang, Bintulu, Mukah and Samarahan, divisions, who represented 3,291 victims of floods housed in relief centres and 28,947 more who took shelter in the homes of relatives.
Earlier, Najib, who is also the chairman of the National Disaster Committee, said that as a result of global warming, the expenditure for flood disaster relief had been high with RM1.1 billion spent in 2006 and RM900 million in 2007.
“In Malaysia, when the water level rises, we at the district level mobilise our machinery to help the police, military and other voluntary bodies to ensure victims are safely evacuated to temporary relief centres,” he said.
Najib said the system in Malaysia was far better than many other countries including the United States where when hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, victims of the disaster complained that government aid was slow in coming.
“President Bush was heavily criticised for the handling of the disaster,” he said.
The Deputy Prime Minister also welcomed a suggestion by Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan, who is also the state’s disaster committee chairman, calling for financial aid to be extended to petty traders who suffered losses in the floods either through direct compassionate aid or bank loans.
The Federal government would make a decision on it shortly and notify the Sarawak government, said Najib.