Reports emerged today alleging that the Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM) bypassed government directives by going ahead with their response to the recent historic floods, after facing inaction from authorities.
According to Free Malaysia Today, the federal National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) were initially hesitant to engage the military for flood rescue efforts, leaving defence ministry officials frustrated.
“It came to a point, where we (the defence ministry) decided, to hell with NADMA. Flood waters were already rising, we were not going to wait any longer,” they quoted a source close to the matter.
“It was as if there was no sense of seriousness to the gravity of the situation. Hence, the armed forces and Mindef (the defence ministry) decided to just bulldoze (rescue efforts).”
The military began search-and-rescue operations by Friday afternoon, despite being told then that the situation is “not a state of emergency”, reported The Rakyat Post.
By current estimates, the proceeding floods have caused more than 41,000 to become displaced, with more than 10 deaths reported so far.
Meanwhile, the minister in charge of NADMA – Abdul Latiff Ahmad of Bersatu – also drew criticism for falsely saying that the agency is only concerned with giving compensation to victims, and that it does not have the jurisdiction to respond.
As a result of the backlash, reports Free Malaysia Today, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the National Security Council (MKN) would be taking the lead from NADMA in the government’s flood relief efforts.
However, Ismail also curiously said that NADMA will remain the main agency to “manage and coordinate” the initiative.