December 27, 2014 – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced three major schemes to ease the financial burden of flood victims nationwide.
Najib had cut short his vacation in Hawaii to fly into Kelantan – one of the nation’s most flood-ravaged states – where he visited some of the evacuees seeking shelter in relief centres near the capital city Kota Bharu.
Some 80,000 people in Kelantan have taken refuge from the rising water while nationwide the number of evacuees had jumped to about 160,000, up from about 100,000 a day earlier.
The Prime Minister also met with the national Security Council, ordering relevant agencies to deliver aid without delay. He also announced a special allowance of 500 million ringgit (US$143 million), to help victims rebuild after the waters subside.
But Najib stopped short of declaring a state of emergency in Kelantan. “It has many implications,” he said. “If we declare an emergency, insurance companies are exempt from paying compensation and compensation for damage to goods and vehicles are high. Secondly, we’re already operating as if we’re in a state of emergency now.”
The floods have now begun to engulf at least eight states across Malaysia. In Kelantan, a special holiday has been declared as the state struggles to cope with the floods while New Year’s celebrations have been cancelled in various other states across the nation.