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Sunday June 4, 2006

Malaysia calls for regional humanitarian relief centre

SINGAPORE: Malaysia has called for the setting up of a regional-based humanitarian relief co-ordinating centre to be mobilised in the event of a disaster. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who made the proposal during a high-level security forum here, said that under the proposal, each member country would have to commit a set of forces, made up of civilian and military personnel. 

“If we can set up many anti-terrorist centres all over, then I'm sure we can create this regional-based humanitarian centre,” he said, referring to the measures taken after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks which killed about 4,000 Americans. 

On the setting up of the centre, Najib, who is also Defence Minister, said training and contingency plans could be drawn out and the centre could be activated when a disaster occurred or when help was needed.  

“Although aid and assistance poured in after the tsunami and the recent earthquakes in JogJakarta, I still understand we could have been more organised and better coordinated," he said.  

Najib earlier held a 30-minute close door meeting with his counterpart from the United States Donald Rumsfeld.  

He described the meeting as "useful" and was pleased with the level of cooperation between both countries particularly in the defence field.


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