In light of the poor response to the intense floods currently ravaging several states in Peninsula Malaysia, Gabungan Darurat Iklim Malaysia (GDIMY) demands that federal and state governments prioritise climate resilience to address the issue of the extreme climate events in our country immediately with concrete people-centred and not false solutions.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that climate change is “widespread, rapid and intensifying” and this is exactly what we are seeing playing out in Malaysia today.
However, we are hopelessly unprepared. Not properly protecting our people from the full impacts of disasters is a violation of their rights to life, health, food, water, shelter, a safe and healthy environment, and livelihood.
Besides the fallout from Typhoon Rai, other causes that have exacerbated the floods in the country are:
- Continual loss of rainfall catchment areas due to deforestation by logging (both legal and illegal)
- De-gazetting of forest reserves and conversion to plantation, mining or mixed development
- Poorly planned development with no proper impact/risk assessments near forest reserves, causing forest fragmentation
- Cities that have been built with low permeability to absorb rainfall
- Changes in river management systems from unchecked canalisation and loss of buffer zones and setback lines due to developmental pressure.
We demand that the above activities be put to an immediate halt.
We demand that the Malaysian government declare this disaster as a “national disaster” and authorise the formation of a special commission to formally investigate this disaster and the efficacy of the response actions and to recommend reparation/compensation to those negatively impacted by any negligence on the part of the government.
The independent members of this special commission must comprise independent scientists and local experts on flood-related issues, representatives of the affected communities, NGOs, disaster risk-reduction management experts, health professionals, and town planning and sustainability experts. The investigation findings must be read out and debated in Parliament as soon as possible in 2022, and the publication made accessible to the public.
We demand that federal and state governments expedite the development of a robust national adaptation plan with a focus on resilience, with clear targets, future scenario planning and an implementation roadmap that covers all possible (not only probable) climate impacts holistically.
All consultation processes with local governments and non-state stakeholders must be transparent, meaningful and inclusive to ensure the building of community resilience components that include rural and urban settlement and landscape design, social capital, ecosystem capital, rural and urban technological capital, and adaptive capacity (which incorporates disaster risk-reduction management).
We demand that the federal government expedite a national disaster risk-reduction plan, which includes instituting nationwide cross-sectoral training in community-based disaster risk management.
We demand the setting up of an independent multi-stakeholder community resilience unit to oversee a nationwide programme to build community resilience in all factors beyond just disaster risk management.
We remain deeply saddened and disappointed by the slow and ineffectual response, inter-agency blaming and lack of coordination across government agencies in dealing with the current flood crisis. We are also very discouraged that the government has not acknowledged the climate crisis as the emergency that it is.
The rakyat are awake and ready for a just transition, but are our leaders? – GDIMY