Sunday December 21, 2008
Nazri: National disaster law may be introduced
KUALA KANGSAR: The Government may introduce a National Disaster Emergency Act to enable it to react swiftly and effectively during disasters, especially when they occur in opposition-held states, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Moha- med Nazri Abdul Aziz.
“When the state is governed by another party, then there is a difficulty in the chain of command.
“Who is in charge and where do staff of the Public Works Department or the police get their orders from?” he asked.
Speaking to reporters after opening a farmers day celebration at the Padang Rengas agriculture office yesterday, Mohamed Nazri, who is also Padang Rengas MP, said: “If the police get directives from the Inspector-General of Police, then the IGP is under the Federal Government. But how does the IGP accommodate the (views) of the chief executive of the (opposition-held) state, who is its mentri besar?
“This is the difficulty now.
“So we are thinking of legislating a National Disaster Emergency Act so that when there is a disaster, we can declare an emergency and then the Federal Government can take charge,” he said.
He said the Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy was a clear example on the need for such an Act.
Mohamed Nazri, who is also a member of the National Disaster Relief Committee, said when Johor was hit by a massive flood two years ago, shopkeepers began hoarding food items such as rice and biscuits.
“But with the proposed Act, we can prevent hoarding, and we can also take supplies from the shops in advance and settle the payments later because it is an emergency situation,” he added.
On the Cabinet guideline on hillside development, Mohamed Nazri said since land was under the purview of state governments, it is the states that should enact the necessary laws.