Deputy Sultan visits disaster sites
By Syafiq Affendy

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Deputy Sultan, attended yesterday a National Disaster Centre special meeting on the disaster brought by the wet monsoon season.

His Royal Highness also visited areas affected by landslides and flashfloods, which included Kg Pelambayan in Kota Batu, Jalan Sungai Akar, Gadong Power Station Area, Gadong Department of Electrical Services Housing and Sungai Tampoi in Ban 3.

His Royal Highness was greeted upon arrival by the Minister of Home Affairs, Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Hj Adanan, in his capacity as the Deputy-Chairman (Permanent) of the National Disaster Council; cabinet ministers and members of the National Disaster Council.

The recent flashfloods and landslides have highlighted how vulnerable the nation's public infrastructure and communication networks are to disasters, His Royal Highness said.

He suggested to the National Disaster Council to formulate short and long-term plan of action to reduce the risk of disaster and to ensure that mitigation efforts cover the nation's and public's interests.

The meeting heard a report by Awg Yahya Hj Abd Rahman, Director of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) on the centre's preparedness, immediate response, recovery work and its increased readiness for disasters.

His Royal Highness said efforts must be increased and that there are rooms for all agencies to improve their plan of action to reduce the risk of disaster.

His Royal Highness suggested that information received on potential disaster must be analysed by all relevant agencies to ensure that the public are warned before hand.

Such public warning should be transmitted to media agencies and to leaders of grassroot levels such as heads of mukims and villages.

His Royal Highness urged that all efforts and steps to reduce the risk of disaster must be carried out before the wet season begins, and not after disaster occurs.

The National Disaster Council is the highest national authority to implement provisions of the Disaster Management Order, 2006 in ensuring the overall effectiveness of disaster management in the country.

Its main task is to formulate short-term and long-term national strategic policy framework to tackle any possibility of disasters.

The National Disaster Management Centre's main role is to help the Council exercise or perform its functions; to advise and make recommendations to the Council regarding matters related to disaster management referred by the council to the centre, and to exercise or perform such other functions as the council may determine. - Borneo Bulletin (1st Feb 2009)