DAP calls for the appointment of a Minister to be especially in charge of mobilizing Malaysian relief and recovery efforts for Aceh to meet the immediate dire need for food, water, clothing and medicine in view of the horrific effects of the double whammy of 9.0-magnitude mega-earthquake and the worst tsunamis in recorded history
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Thursday): DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to appoint a Cabinet Minister with the special portfolio and responsibility to mobilize Malaysian relief and recovery efforts for Aceh in view of the horrific effects of the double whammy of 9.0-magnitude mega-earthquake and the worst tsunamis in recorded history.
Prognosis of Aceh could not be more grim, with predictions that Indonesia’s death toll from the earthquake and tsunamis could reach 80,000, largely from the Aceh province, which would push the total death toll in the 12 tsunami-stricken countries in Asia and Africa to the ghastly and mind-numbing figure of over 120,000!
It has been reported that three-quarters of Sumatra’s western coast was destroyed and some towns were totally wiped out. In the provincial capital, Banda Aceh, as many as five per cent of the 300,000 population are believed dead. A senior United Nations official has expressed his fear that in the town of Meulaboh on Aceh’s west coast, the toll could reach 40,000.
In Aceh, as in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, officials have given up trying to count victims and are concentrating instead in burying the dead and helping the survivors.
Sunday’s mega-quake, the most dramatic seismic shock in more than 40 years, has permanently changed the geology of the area, shifting the Sumatra island southwest by around 36m and made the Earth wobble on its axis.
As our closest ASEAN neighbour in the most dire conditions, Malaysia should exert its utmost to mobilize all immediate and available assistance for the relief and recovery of the suffering people of Aceh.
The appointment of a Cabinet Minister to be especially in charge of mobilizing immediate relief and recovery assistance to the stricken Indonesian province and people, in their desperate and life-and-death need for food, water, clothing and medicine, will be fully in keeping with the ASEAN spirit of solidarity, good neighbourliness and community.
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman