Sometimes in November 1991, I was with the then Deputy Agriculture Minister Shariff Omar making rounds on a boat in Pinang Tunggal, an area heavily affected by flood. Apart from visiting the victims, we also handed out blankets, food and medical supply to them.
Although we didnt manage to meet all victims (a few thousands of them), we knew that there were other people and agencies - volunteers, the army, police, the Red Crescent, Rela - carrying out similar duty in assisting them. And such an operation would not be successful without financial aids from the government via the National Disaster Relief Fund (Tabung Bantuan Bencana Kebangsaan).
Since it was formed in the late 1980s, about RM30 million was allocated to help to help those struck by disaster, namely flood, landslide, typhoon, fire, etc.
When Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak issued a directive today for ample assistance be extended to the flood victims in Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan (read here), a few questions came to mind.
First, how much money was allocated since the Fund was established? How much of it was spent or disbursed to respective parties, authorities or people in charge of relief operations? Did all victims get full assistance in form of cash money to repair their damaged properties?
Most important question is whether all the money allocated and disbursed was audited by qualified auditors. According to an officer with the Fund (at the Prime Minister's Department), most of the money was not properly audited, and this opens up doubt that some of the funds might have been misused by certain people.
I agree. Over the last 10 years or so, no official record was publicised or revealed to the public. We are still in the dark as to whether the money was used appropriately in helping out disaster victims in the country.
Could there be fraud? Could be, and could be not until the respective authorities responsible for the fund come up with a clear statement of expenditures.
The money is for badly-stricken people. Should any of the officials enthrusted with the responsibility are found using it for their own personal need, then the MACC should step in and investigate.
And now that Nazri Aziz is the chairman of the Fund, he should look into this and start digging.
I have valid reasons for making a posting on this issue...