Over the past weekend, a number of states across West Malaysia have witnessed chaos and devastation after a tropical depression had swept across the Peninsula, causing widespread flash floods to occur. Some of the worst hit areas include major metropolitan hubs in the Klang Valley, such as Klang, Shah Alam, Puchong, Kuala Lumpur, and in neighbouring states such as Pahang, Negeri Sembilan, Kelantan, and Terengganu.
Many lamented the delayed rescue response from authorities
While citizen volunteers have been quick to react by leaping right into action during the height of the disaster period over the weekend, many flood victims and non-government organisations have lamented the delayed rescue response mounted by local authorities. However, it would seem that the dissatisfaction has reached a fever pitch after a flood victim was recently recorded confronting a government minister over the situation.
Nah, ambik kau! pic.twitter.com/m0dATHSuwd
— Zunar Cartoonist (@zunarkartunis) December 21, 2021
In a video that was recently shared by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar on his Twitter page, a middle-aged woman who was among those affected by the floods was seen directly confronting Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperative and cabinet minister Tan Sri Noh Omar over the lackadaisical rescue response mounted by authorities.
Mak cik confronts govt minister, expressing her frustrations
In speaking with Tan Sri, she expressed her frustrations over the fact that despite repeated calls to relevant rescue units, nobody turned up to help save her and her family when circumstances grew to become critical. When asked by the Minister as to whether she had attempted to contact the Fire Department, she rebuked his question by stating that not only did she contact the Fire Department, but she had also reached out to the Civil Defence Department (JPAM), a military camp located in Sungai Besi, and even state-run media channel TV3 to no avail.
“I tried to contact various government agencies in order to get help for as many as 30 individuals who were trapped in their homes. Not a single government agency showed up to help us.”
“Why did the government agencies only show up the following morning, when the water levels have already receded? When the situation was critical, with water levels reaching the ceilings of our homes, not a single government agency turned up to send aid.” she said.
The Minister could only look on in silence and nod in agreement as she continued to criticise the government’s lackluster rescue efforts. The mak cik goes on to mention that while the Civil Defence Department did show up eventually, they were only equipped with three boats.
“It is to my understanding that JPAM only mobilised three boats to cover the entire Hulu Langat area. Three boats simply cannot help save all of those affected in Hulu Langat.
This is common sense, right Tan Sri?”
Only foreign nationals came to their aid
In addition to that, she proceeds to ask why the military had not been involved in the evacuation and rescue efforts.
“I was a victim of the 2014 floods and back then, despite water levels reaching only up to our thighs, the army was dispatched to help us when the situation became critical.”
Instead of government authorities, the mak cik reveals that only foreign nationals had aided them in their most dire time of need, pointing out that three Indonesians had gone above and beyond to help rescue the children of another flood victim from the roof of their homes on their boats.
“From 12.00am midnight to 4.30am, 5.30am in the morning, nobody came to help us but foreign nationals. Where were the government agencies who were supposed to help us?”
Netizens rally around mak cik, praising her courage
The video has since gone viral across social media, with many praising the mak cik for having the courage to express the struggles and challenges she had faced during the floods, while pointing out the apparent shortcomings in the government’s rescue and evacuation response during the floods.
“It got to a point where the Tan Sri couldn’t even provide a response. Anyways, hope this is a wake up call for both the people and the government. People to make informed decisions during General Elections and government to buck up and have better coordination and planning to avoid a recurrence.”
“Yes! This is how the people should treat government officials. Tell them straight to their face. Ask them tough questions. Not treat them like nobles.”
Many have also complimented her ability to remain calm and composed throughout the conversation, despite clearly frustrated by her experiences.
“Brief, spontaneous, but filled with facts. She remains soft spoken and didn’t follow her emotions. Kudos to this strong woman for willing to speak her mind.”
“I respect this woman. She still remains capable of being soft-spoken while spitting facts.”
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