PHUKET: After two days of discussions here for a regional centre for a tsunami early warning system, Malaysia is forging ahead with plans to set up its own system.
The national early warning system could be linked to other centres, like those in Indonesia and Thailand, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis.
“Without such a national centre, it is tough to form a global link for an early warning arrangement,” he said at the end of the Ministerial Meeting on Regional Cooperation on Tsunami Early Warning Arrangements here last night.
Such a multi-nodal arrangement, he said, was important and could be coordinated by one centre.
“If one is down, at least others are still working,” he added.
Earlier, Dr Jamaluddin noted that some countries had sought Malaysia’s help to set up such an early warning system.
Malaysia, he said, would take advantage of the public announcement systems in mosques and schools in villages to issue tsunami alerts.
On the meeting, he said despite no clear outcome, Malaysia believed the gathering succeeded in reaffirming the countries’ commitment towards setting up a regional early warning system for tsunamis.
“It is a success. We got to meet and reaffirm our commitment to cooperate at the regional level,” he said.
Representatives from 45 countries attended the meeting, initiated by Thailand, which was meant to look into developing a regional tsunami early warning arrangement for the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia.
As it turned out, the meeting issued a Phuket Declaration that merely said they “recognised” the readiness of the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (ADPC) to serve as a regional centre.
Thailand, which had been pushing for the long-established ADPC to be the focal point, said it was an organisation with 30 member countries and it “so happened” to be sited in the kingdom.
Indonesia and India were also vying to offer its own regional centre.
The meeting also concluded that such a system must be in place by mid-2006.