Be Part Of The Solution, Not The Problem

Yes there are things about the rescuers response etc that we can improve. Debatlah cara baik di Parlimen dan Dewan Undangan Negeri dan waktu post mortem in MKN/NADMA. However as far as I can see, with such massive unprecedented flood and with the amount of victims involved in the most populated state and areas in the whole country, I say kudos and job well done to the rescuers etc be it government, GLCs, NGOs, private sectors and individuals. You all are heroes in my eyes. Compare this to what happened in US when Katrina hit, this was a miracle. 

Ahmad Faiz Faiza

People are just starting to pick their life again after one of the worst floods in the country, and in some states like Kelantan and Pahang its still ongoing, but we already have some people playing the blame game. MKNs fault some say, no its State governments fault others replied, no its NADMA some added, then come the kicker, NADMA tu binatang apa? Ai yai yai yai yai…..

So first let me explain about MKN and NADMA. Actually ramai yang salah faham about MKNs role when disasters like floods, etc., strike. MKN is the big body that coordinate many things regarding security in this country. From things like the pandemic, war, to natural disasters, it’s the main body that create the policies. Its members are the PM, Menteri Besar and Chief Ministers, IGP, AG, Army General,  etc. The main MKN is headed by the PM while at state level its usually the MB or CM.

To make it more effective and to resolve any logistical problems, several specific agencies were created under it to coordinate the tasks better. These agencies will report to MKN. For natural disasters like flood, the agency involve is NADMA (National Disaster Management Agency) created in 2015 after the 2014 big flood in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang or most popularly known locally in Kelantan as Bah Kuning. They will coordinate the security forces and rescuers and relevant agencies, both Federal and State. It is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister or Minister of Special Function under PMO at the Federal level. At State level, NADMA is headed by the State Secretary.

So in the case of Selangor, just as like any other state in Malaysia, it is the State Secretary who heads NADMA who is directly responsible for coordinating the response and rescue regarding the floods. He and the state NADMA members are answerable to the state level MKN.

So it doesn’t really matter actually whether the Selangor MKN head was the Menteri Besar or Noh Omar. The one who was responsible at state level is NADMA headed by the State Secretary. While at Federal level it is the Minister of Special Functions.

However do take note that this flood, just as in Kelantan in 2014 was mainly due to the amount of water that the rain brought. In the 2014 Kelantan flood, near 2 months of rain was spread over Kelantan within 3 days beginning 21st December and didnt stopped. By Christmas the flood started so fast it inundated more than 80% of the state in one day. Estimated Kelantan received more than 5 months of rainwater within that week.

The current one in Selangor, Pahang, KL and N9, it’s more than one month rain drop within less than 24 hours. Do remember KL, Selangor and N9 are more developed than Kelantan and thus have less open areas to absorb the rainwater naturally into the ground. The water just washed off the road and pavement and town areas into the drainage system and of course will overflow. It also overflows into the rivers causing it to rise faster.

We can predict where and when the rain is, but we still cannot predict how much water the rain will bring with it. And this unprecedented amount of rain water is becoming more common all over the world due to climate change, causing the worse floods in flood prone areas, and even flood in areas that were safe from floods before, everywhere in the world.

And that’s what happened in Kelantan in 2014, and now in Selangor, KL, N9 and Pahang 2021. Thus the water rises very, very fast and it took everyone by surprised. Tempat tak pernah banjir pun banjir. Even some designated evacuation centers pun banjir. All the plans and backup plans to face the flood is useless in this situation. Like in Sri Muda the JPS generator that was supposed to power the water pumps itself was flooded, let alone the pumps itself.  JPS were forced to take pumps from Perak and other states to Sri Muda and this take time. Only in the third day they managed to install it and have to break the wall near the river to create a temporary water outlet for these pumps. Itupun ramai ‘pakar pakar internet’ bising and talk nonsense tuduh baru nak pecah dinding baru nak guna pam etc etc.

Add to the fact that most urbanites like in KL Selangor social wise are very impatient. Jenis if order online hari ni, nak barang sampai semalam kalau boleh. Bila pergi kedai kalau boleh nak parking dalam kedai tu rather than park far away and walk. Most have no experience facing floods thats why they do not understand that boats are not like cars, because weight is a factor that determines whether it float or sink, so you cant rescue everyone at one go. They cant understand that rescuers must also consider whether the boats with these many people can pass above the inundated cars etc that usually block the path to safety,  which we cant see under the water because its murky. I know because i am from KL myself, Damansara Heights and Bangsar is my hometown. So i know the attitude of these ‘Bangsar Bubble’ people very well. Orang lain semua uneducated and kampung, kita jer pandai kan?

Why don’t use helicopters to save the victims some mocked? Actually we did. But those assets were sent to rural areas where it took rescue boats hours to reach them. Thus using helicopters is faster. Ada video at Unit Udara Bomba on FB showing them save people using it. In places like Sri Muda using boats is sufficient. Problem is kurang boat and some laluan blocked because of inundated cars and debris etc that makes it a slow process. Ini belum masuk some residence yang hanya nak makanan but doesn’t want to leave the house. So now have to designate some boats just to send food. Dah la boat nak selamatkan orang kurang, makin kurang jadinya. Rescuers suddenly kena jadi grabfood foodpanda. Really, attitude of both the rescuers and victims really plays a big part in determining the efficiency of any rescue attempt.

And add to this attitude, is the lockdown fatigue and other problems due to the pandemic that is still going on, yes it’s quite an explosive cocktail. I can understand why most are angry kata rescuer lambat tak teratur etc. They just see what’s in front of them but not the big picture. Some journalist interview the people yang baru kena rescue and these people maki hamun bagai, shown live on tv and internet. I dont blame them because they were stranded without internet and phone, so they do not know the extent of the flood that they just survived. But netizen that viral such vids and make idiotic comments, well they should know better because they know the extent of the flood.

To put it into perspective, the Kelantan big flood in 2014 affected more than half a million people with more than 200 thousand evacuated, 24 deaths and thousands of houses affected. Some villages, not houses mind you but villages, were completely destroyed and have to be rebuild anew elsewhere. KTM railroad completely destroyed. It took more than a year to repair and was in service again in 2016. Only one hospital was fully functional throughout Kelantan at that time and that was HUSM in Kubang Kerian. Others were either partly submerged or total close down.

On the other hand the current flood affected more than 2 million people, with so far 5 deaths i was told and inundated thousands of housing areas. Its bigger because KL and Selangor especially, even N9, have more population and they are more concentrated than in Kelantan. Selangor have the largest population in the country mind you. However there are plenty of hospitals fully opened and was not effected by the flood.

Thus imagine when nearly all of Selangor is affected, and we have at the same time flood in KL, N9, parts of Pahang, Melaka and Kelantan. At the same time we have warning of impending floods in Perak, Terengganu and Kedah. Our rescuers and all really were stretch thin that 2 days beginning 19 December.

But alhamdulillah, we managed to pull through it. Most roads were accessible just after 24 hours. Water, electricity and internet were also available in most areas within that time. Within 48 hours majority of the victims in many areas have been saved, except for Klang, Sri Muda Shah Alam and some in Pahang and Kelantan which is still facing rising flood and have no water, electricity and internet. Train, LRT, mRT and Rapid bus services also has opened again in just few days with most routes serviceable.

When I faced the 2014 flood in Kelantan, I had no water and electricity for nearly a week. My housing area become an island and i cant go anywhere. My phone line and internet connection was intermittent, kejap ada kejap tak ada. The most reliable type of long range communication at that time was if you have a ham radio or walkie talkies. At least my house not flooded. Imagine those that do. Some were stuck at home nearly for four five days because the rescuers cannot get through to them. Worse, mana yang rumah total lost tenggelam atau hanyut, lari naik bukit hutan nearby. It took days before rescuers can reach them.

So to me seeing some in KL and Selangor condemning the rescuers etc online after just facing few hours of electricity and water cuts, sorry to say, rasa macam orang tak bersyukur. The fact that you manage to get electricity, water, phone line, internet and even public transport so fast, means the authorities did a marvelous job. Siap boleh bawak kereta pergi Sri Muda, Klang etc ambik video upload to FB, Tik Tok whatever. That shows vast response improvement by the government agencies today compared to when Kelantan was hit with similar floods in 2014. But as usual when one is consumed with just hatred, common sense it not common. Bukti depan mata tak nampak. Yang nampak salah orang lain sahaja.

Yes flood victims lost their cars and all the things in their homes. Here in Kelantan 2014, and even now in Pahang currently, people lost their homes total, swept away by the floods. Whole villages destoyed in the 2014 floods. Your bungalows, terrace houses and apartments, most is still standing. Kami dulu, and now in Pahang it seems if the footage is true, ada yang tinggal sehelai sepinggang.

Seriously those who have seen the extend of the floods in Lembah Klang to Shah Alam from aerial footage will know how massive and big this flood was. Its a miracle that our death count is not higher. In fact so far it’s still lower than what happened in Kelantan in 2014. Hopefully it remains that way. Thats why to me, after seeing and learning all these facts, the logical emotion one should have is to bersyukur. This is not a normal flood. This is beyond that, its a catastrophe. Its a miracle so many of us are still alive and just within days our roads, public transports, utilities etc are back to normal in most areas.

Yes there are things about the rescuers response etc that we can improve. Debatlah cara baik di Parlimen dan Dewan Undangan Negeri dan waktu post mortem in MKN/NADMA. However as far as I can see, with such massive unprecedented flood and with the amount of victims involved in the most populated state and areas in the whole country, I say kudos and job well done to the rescuers etc be it government, GLCs, NGOs, private sectors and individuals. You all are heroes in my eyes. Compare this to what happened in US when Katrina hit, this was a miracle.

To the politicians and those playing the blame game, let me remind you that just because the flood has receded, it doesn’t mean the rakyats problems and sufferings caused by the floods has ended. In Kelantan some victims took two to three years for their life to become normal again. Some even longer, waiting for the government to rebuild their houses and villages. Cleaning the flood debris alone took more than a year. And Kelantan is not as populated as KL and Selangor. In short, its not yet over. Banyak lagi yang perlukan bantuan baik dari segi financial, physical or mental. Its not yet over.

So carry on pointing fingers and play the blame game to score brownie points. Rational people like me who sees the big picture feel grateful to God just for giving us a second chance at life. Harta benda duit semua boleh cari balik. Nyawa tak boleh. Baik lagi teruskan bantu mangsa bersihkan rumah derma etc. Be part of the solution, not the problem.

And ingat this is the second time within 7 years since Bah Kuning in Kelantan 2014, where rainfalls exceed the normal amount in Malaysia and cause such a big flood. And like i said, its getting common all over the world. Climate change is real. And I am sure it will happen again in the future. This will not be the last. So all must prepare. Allah dah kasi banyak warning.

‘Demi sesungguhnya! Kami akan menguji kamu dengan sedikit perasaan takut (kepada musuh) dan (dengan merasai) kelaparan, dan (dengan berlakunya) kekurangan dari harta benda dan jiwa serta hasil tanaman. Dan berilah khabar gembira kepada orang-orang yang sabar:

(Iaitu) orang-orang yang apabila mereka ditimpa oleh sesuatu kesusahan, mereka berkata: ‘Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilaihi raaji’uun’ (“Sesungguhnya kami adalah kepunyaan Allah dan kepada Allah jualah kami kembali.”)

Mereka itu ialah orang-orang yang dilimpahi dengan berbagai-bagai kebaikan dari Tuhan mereka serta rahmatNya; dan mereka itulah orang-orang yang dapat petunjuk hidayahNya.’

Al Quran, Surah al Baqarah, ayat 155-157