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Govt To Upgrade Assets For Disaster Management – Shahidan

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KUALA LUMPUR – The government plans to upgrade disaster management facilities, including for flood and haze, with allocations provided under the Budget 2016.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the asset-upgrading process include buying helicopters with a bigger capacity to conduct operations for longer periods.

“Currently, the helicopters that we have can only fly for two-and-a-half hours to three-and-a-half hours, so if we are heading to flood areas, we cannot be there long, we may be able to save a few people and have to return to refuel and so on,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.

The Budget 2016 which was tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Friday saw a big allocation provided for security and disaster management, including RM180 million to set up the National Disaster Management Agency, to strengthen management of natural disaster.

Shahidan added that the government was also planning to buy another Bombardier aircraft, and that Malaysia is currently the only country in Asia to own such an aircraft.

“Currently, we have two (Bombardier aircraft) which are being used in the forest fire-fighting operations in Indonesia and there is some difficulty because when we carry out maintenance, only one can be used, and if one is out of order, both cannot be used. So it is better if we have three,” he said.

Shahidan also said the government was on alert to face the monsoon season with various assets including six helicopters from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

He said other agencies such as Police, the Malaysian Armed Forces and the Department of Civil Defence (JPAM) will also prepare their assets.

Post-flood management would also be given attention by the government based on feedback obtained after the major floods last year. – BERNAMA

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