Four-point urgent fax to Prime Minister on the Asian Tsunami disaster, seeking approval for disbursement of RM6 million from annual development allocations of 12 DAP MPs’ for tsunami victims, RM3 million, RM2 million and RM1 million respectively for Malaysia, Aceh and Sri Lanka
- at the 30th anniversary dinner of the P.W. Lim See Sa Hoe Tong at its premises, Lorong Kubor, Butterworth
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Thursday): In 26 hours’ time, the world will welcome the New Year, 2005. There will be no New Year or countdown celebrations to usher in the new year, however, as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has announced their cancellations – just as 24 hours earlier, Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had announced cancellation of New Year celebrations of all Thai government agencies and declared instead a three-day national mourning.
All this because Malaysians and the world have in the last few days learnt - at great cost, massive loss of lives and horrific human suffering - a Japanese word, tsunami. The killer tsunami waves unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude Sumatra mega-earthquake on Sunday has created an arc of death and destruction in 11 nations, totaling over 100,000 people, with the final count still unknown.
In Malaysia, although we are fortunate in experiencing only the tail-end of the monstrous tsunamis, 66 people had been confirmed dead, scores missing with property damage exceeding RM100 million.
Yesterday, when I visited Ooi Boon Kim of Berapit, Bukit Mertajam, who lost six family members to Sunday’s tsunami disaster at the Pasir Panjang beach near Pulau Betong on the Penang island, he asked a heart-rending question why the government authorities had failed to issue any warning of danger although they had more than three hours of lead time before the killer waves unleashed by the 9.0 magnitude Sumatra mega-earthquake hit the northern coasts of Malaysia.
The 66 lives lost in the northern coasts of Malaysia from Sunday’s tsunami disaster could have been averted if the government agencies responsible for coping with natural disasters had sent out public warning of the possibility of tsunamis following the Sumatra earthquake, and to inform those at the beaches and coastal waters of the dangers involved.
The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has directed all the relevant agencies in Penang and Kedah to immediately conduct a post-mortem on the tsunami disaster in Malaysia on Sunday to overcome the weaknesses and shortcomings in the system to deal with disasters.
I will be sending the Prime Minister an urgent fax tomorrow on four aspects of the tsunami disaster, viz:
* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman