New Act mulled to improve disaster management

PUTRAJAYA: A new Act emphasising a holistic approach to national disaster management is being considered, says Datuk Armizan Mohd Ali.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs, and Special Duties) said engagement sessions are also being held to review National Security Council (NSC) Directive No. 20.

“The National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) is currently having engagements to review Directive No. 20 while also gradually introducing a disaster risk reduction policy.

“If there is a need, we will also look into establishing a specific Act on national disaster management to ensure we have a complete legal framework,” he told a press conference after attending the Rakan Nadma Disaster Emergency Simulation Exercise (Randex) 2023 here on Friday (Sept 22).

NSC Directive No. 20 relates to the policy and mechanisms of national disaster management that outline roles and responsibilities of disaster management committees at every level.

On the present intermonsoon period, Armizan said there were already five states affected by floods.

“Data from Sept 19 to 21 shows five states, seven districts (affected) and seven temporary relief centres have already opened.

“There are already 589 victims.

“Even during the inter-monsoon, we can see floods occurring,” he said, adding that district-level disaster management committees should also be prepared for any eventuality during this period.

He added that 89 localities nationwide were stricken by floods during the north-east monsoon that began in November last year and ended in March.

Of those, 77 saw recurring floods during the period.

“I have ordered Nadma to look into these locations and ensure their preparedness for any instances of floods,” Armizan said.

He added that although he did not have details on the specific locations of the hotspots, the majority were in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor.

“These are the states that always have to face floods,” he added.

Disaster action plans were dependent upon the instructions within NSC directive 20, he added.

“There are various guidelines here, classified into three layers.

“This includes disaster management committees at the federal, state and district levels as well as the magnitude of a disaster.

“Level 1 disasters are handled by the district, Level 2 by the state and Level 3 by Nadma,” he added.

On Sept 14, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said the intermonsoon period would begin on Sept 19 and last until November.

MetMalaysia director-general Helmi Abdullah said this marks the end of the South-West monsoon which began on March 15.

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