PUTRAJAYA: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the ongoing aid missions by government departments and agencies in flood-stricken Penang shows that the federal government is ‘colour blind’ when comes to helping the people.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said it was proof of the government’s commitment to help those affected by misfortune.
“I wish to thank the departments, agencies and non-governmental organisations for going all out to help out the victims even though the state that was hit is led by a party that is not from the ruling coalition.
“In fact, I will dispute it if anyone accuses the federal government of delaying assistance when we were the ones to be there first than those pointing fingers,” he said when flagging off an aid convoy to Penang and Kedah, which was also hit by floods, at the Home Ministry compound here yesyerday.
The mission involving 40 members of the People’s Volunteer Corps from Kelab Bantuan Bencana Pacuan Empat Roda (4X4) Rimau Akar Putrajaya is using 15 vehicles to ferry various essential goods and contributions worth over RM83,000 to assist in cleaning work and alleviating the plight of victims.
Ahmad Zahid said such accusations should not have arisen as Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, cabinet ministers and he himself had gone down to the state to meet the people in the disaster-stricken locations.
He said government representatives were on the ground even before receiving a call for help from the state’s leader.
The deputy prime minister said the opposition seemed to point fingers at the government, even though their own weaknesses had also contributed to the disaster.
Ahmad Zahid argued that the floods in Penang were also due to excessive development, resulting in erosion, as well as clogging up of rivers during heavy rains.
“To me, this issue should not be politicised or manipulated, as during a disaster, the interests of flood victims should be prioritised,” he said.
The flagging off ceremony was also attended by Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Alwi Ibrahim and Rela director-general Zulkifli Abidi. — Bernama