Swift assistance to Sabahan flood victims due to state's close ties with Federal govt, says Ongkili

KOTA KINABALU: The swift disbursement of financial assistance and other aid for flood victims in Sabah is a result of the close rapport between the state and Federal governments, said Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said this was one of the reasons why it was vital to maintain a good relationship with the Federal government to ensure that the people’s plight was heard.

"In flood and disaster management, the Federal government has the supreme power, in terms of services and financial aid disbursement through the relevant agencies," he said.

"Here, the RM1,000 cash aid for each household is disbursed within three weeks," Ongkili said during an aid presentation programme at the Kota Marudu Community Hall, Friday (Jan 21).

A total of 1,161 households were affected by the recent flood in Kota Marudu, of which 332 had received their assistance, while the remainder of 829 received theirs on Friday.

Meanwhile, he said some RM1.4bil had been allocated by the government to alleviate flood victims’ burdens due to the recent floods in six states, including Sabah, of which a household could receive between RM10,000 to RM61,000, depending on the severity of their losses.

Other than the compassionate cash assistance, the government also offered each victim other aid such as cash voucher of RM500 for the purchase of electrical appliances; 50% discount on Proton and Perodua vehicle spare parts, while other companies offered free car towing services.

The Kota Marudu MP said in the case of Selangor, their inexperience in managing disasters such as floods and absence of close working relationship with the Federal government compounded mismanagement of the flood disaster.

“Whether the state government is financially strong, but without experience in managing disasters, you will still need to work with Federal government agencies to ensure the people’s needs are covered," Ongkili said.

"That is why it is important for a close rapport between the state and Federal government.

"And in Sabah, we are lucky that the Gabungan Bersatu Sabah government is able to communicate well with the federal government," he added.

On another development, he said the Kota Marudu District Office has estimated some RM4mil in total damages caused by the recent flood, of which the government has approved an allocation of RM24mil for repair works.

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