JAKARTA: Malaysia is ready to play a major role in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of countries devastated by the Dec 26 tsunami, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said.
The Prime Minister said yesterday that Malaysia had the expertise and experience in several sectors, including housing and infrastructure development, which could be shared with the affected countries.
He said he had conveyed this to Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono during the Special Asean Leaders’ Meeting on the Aftermath of the Earthquake and Tsunami.
The Indonesian province of Aceh on Sumatra is one of the areas ravaged by the disaster.
“It is of course, up to the Indonesian Government to consider our offer,” he told Malaysian journalists.
Abdullah, who is scheduled to visit Aceh today, said the Indonesian leader had expressed his appreciation for Malaysia’s efforts in providing relief, rescue and recovery and medical treatment to the injured.
“He has also asked me to convey his thanks to the Malaysian volunteers who were serving in Aceh,” he said.
On his meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the sidelines of the summit, he said Malaysia was happy that the UN would now play the leading role in the distribution of relief aid for victims of the global disaster.
The leaders were earlier told that the UN humanitarian effort would be led by emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland, while Annan’s special coordinator, Margareta Wahlstrom would manage the distribution within the affected region.
Asked on the role of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), which is chaired by Malaysia, he said many of its members were already contributing their help through UN agencies, adding that it was not necessary for the grouping to set up its own relief fund.
“It is a global humanitarian move, not something to be restricted to Muslim countries.
“If non-Muslims can donate to all, including Muslim countries, why should there be a specific fund for the OIC?” he asked.
However, he said OIC would play a significant part in helping the estimated 38,000 children left orphaned in Aceh, a Muslim-dominated province.