PETALING JAYA: The management of Aeon Mall Shah Alam said it gave shelter to 570 customers stranded by flash floods in Shah Alam, Selangor on Dec 18.
The management issued an open apology in response to allegations that its staff turned away customers seeking shelter from the recent floods.
They said despite being unprepared and lacking manpower, they tried their best to ensure the comfort of the 570 people.
“There were also 173 staff members and 255 tenants who were stranded.
“Based on the daily work schedule, our operations end at 10pm each day. That was the information provided by our staff to those who asked.
“At that point, no one was aware of the actual flash flood situation that occurred in the Shah Alam area and its surroundings,” it said in a statement on Tuesday (Dec 21).
Upon receiving more inquiries, it said that a decision was made at 9.40pm to allow customers, staff and tenants to take shelter in the premises.
“Our staff immediately informed customers who were on the premises and in vehicle parking area inside and outside the mall that they could spend the night inside the premises.
“Due to the unprepared and unexpected conditions as well as manpower constraints, there were perhaps some customers who did not get the information and left,” it said.
The management added that an air-conditioned space with an area of 6,400sq feet on the third floor that could accommodate 200 people was opened.
It said that stranded customers also took refuge in the foyer and there were some who chose to spend the night in their vehicles.
It also said they provided immediate assistance such as food, drinks, bedding and clothes.
Customers who spent the night also used facilities such as prayer rooms, toilet and baby rooms while some lay on the floor, display sofas and beds, it said.
The management said standard operating procedures were followed in managing the situation and the stranded customers began to gradually leave the premises the next day.
“We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience on our part in dealing with the situation. We take note of our weaknesses and we learn from them.
“Our staff who did not have the skills or experience in handling such an operation still tried wholeheartedly in extending help. Though tired and anxious thinking of their own families as well, they were scolded and treated harshly by some who were impatient; our staff remained focused on being welcoming to the customers.
“To those who appreciate, we thank you very much. Your support is an encouragement for us to continue giving our best even in a bitter situation.
Some social media users had accused Aeon Mall Shah Alam of turning away people seeking shelter in its premises during the floods.
However, there were also those who praised the mall’s staff for treating them well and for providing them with food and shelter.