More NGOs sought for relief


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 22 Jun 2003

By WONG LI ZA

KUALA LUMPUR: A bigger pool of NGOs dealing with relief work in disaster situations is needed to ensure more effective results, said former Inspector-General of Police Tun Hanif Omar. 

He said that under the National Security Council’s Directive 20, the Government looked mainly to traditional NGOs such as the Malaysian Red Crescent Society and St John Ambulance Malaysia for assistance. 

“Disaster prevention, management and relief is the sovereign right and responsibility of the Government, which has dealt with it for so long. 

“But now, we have many other NGOs that can contribute. So here, we want to show the Government that all these NGOs can help play a supplementary role,” he said at a press briefing of the National Conference on Disaster Relief held at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre, Kuala Lumpur. Hanif is the conference’s deputy chairman of exhibitions. 

The conference, held from June 21 to 23, is themed “Strengthening National Integration Towards Timely and Effective Results.” 

NEW SKILL: Hanif trying his hand at cardiopulmonary resuscitation at the disaster relief conference in Kuala Lumpur Saturday as Lee (extreme right) and staff of University Malaya Medical Centre look on.

The objectives of the conference are to form a coalition of national NGOs specialising in disaster relief and to encourage the establishment of coalitions of national NGOs in other Asean countries leading eventually to the formation of an Asean Coalition of National NGOs. 

To date, 12 local NGOs have committed themselves to the coalition. 

A Malaysian Humanitarian Foundation (MHF) initiative supported and chaired by the National Unity and Social Development Ministry at the conference came about from a need for better co-ordination among the various disaster relief agencies and groups. 

“MHF has been giving assistance to the needy but they were aware that many other NGOs also assisted in disaster relief and wanted to volunteer their services.  

“But there is a lack of co-ordination, resulting in not knowing what resources and skills each of the NGOs have,” said Hanif. 

Datuk Ruby Lee, a member of the organising committee in charge of volunteers, said the committee hoped to come up with an action plan. 

“Ultimately, the plan should harness volunteers and resources, and inspire the younger generation to come forward and see what is being done,” said Lee, the president of Community Support Network.  

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