Four-point urgent fax to Prime Minister on the Asian  Tsunami disaster,  seeking approval for disbursement of  RM6 million from annual  development allocations   of  12 DAP MPs’  for tsunami victims, RM3 million, RM2 million and RM1 million respectively for Malaysia, Aceh and Sri Lanka


 at the 30th anniversary dinner of the P.W. Lim See Sa Hoe Tong  at its premises, Lorong Kubor, Butterworth
by Lim Kit Siang

(Penang, Thursday): In 26 hours’ time, the world will welcome the New Year, 2005. There will be no New Year or countdown celebrations to usher in the new  year, however,  as the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has announced their cancellations – just as 24 hours earlier, Thailand Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had announced cancellation of New Year celebrations of all Thai government agencies and declared instead a three-day national mourning. 

All this because Malaysians and the world have in the last few days  learnt -  at great cost, massive loss of lives  and horrific  human suffering -  a Japanese word,   tsunami. The killer tsunami waves unleashed by the 9.0-magnitude Sumatra mega-earthquake on Sunday has created an arc of death and destruction in 11 nations, totaling over 100,000 people, with the final count still unknown. 

In Malaysia, although we are fortunate in experiencing only the tail-end of the monstrous tsunamis, 66 people had been confirmed dead, scores missing with property damage exceeding RM100 million.

Yesterday, when I visited Ooi Boon Kim  of Berapit, Bukit Mertajam,  who lost six family members to Sunday’s tsunami disaster at the Pasir Panjang beach near Pulau Betong on the Penang island, he asked a heart-rending question why the   government authorities had failed to issue any warning of danger although they had more than  three hours of lead time before the killer waves unleashed by the 9.0 magnitude Sumatra mega-earthquake hit the northern coasts of Malaysia.

The 66 lives lost in the northern coasts of Malaysia from Sunday’s tsunami disaster could have been averted if the government agencies responsible for coping with natural disasters had sent out public warning of the possibility of tsunamis following the Sumatra earthquake, and to inform those at  the  beaches and coastal waters of  the dangers involved.

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has  directed all the relevant agencies in Penang and Kedah to immediately conduct a post-mortem on the tsunami disaster in  Malaysia on Sunday to overcome the weaknesses and shortcomings in the system to deal with disasters.

I will be sending the Prime Minister an urgent fax tomorrow on four aspects of the tsunami disaster, viz: 

  • A public inquiry to find the answer to the heart-rending question by Ooi Boon Kim and all bereaved families, relatives and friends of the tsunami fatalities in Penang, Perak, Kedah, Perlis and Selangor, as well as by ordinary Malaysians – why there was such a horrendous failure in  our national warning system to deal with disasters.
  • Seek approval of the Prime Minister for the disbursement of  RM6 million from annual  development allocation  to  12 DAP MPs’  for tsunami victims, RM3 million, RM2 million and RM1 million respectively for Malaysia, Aceh and Sri Lanka.  Members of Parliament from the Barisan Nasional are each given an annual development allocation of RM500,000 from the Prime Minister’s Department, but DAP MPs have never received a single sen of the total of  RM6 million for 12 parliamentarians, and I hope Abdullah  would approve the disbursement request of the RM6 million which the 12 DAP MPs are entitled to for a great humanitarian cause, not only for Malaysians but also the people of Aceh and Sri Lanka in the hour of their dire  and greatest need.
  • Two-day extension of the two-day special sitting of Parliament on January 18 – 19 to allow MPs to be able to have an urgent debate on the humanitarian catastrophe caused by the Sumatra earthquake-tsunamis and the role that should be played by Malaysia, as Chair of Non-Aligned Movement and Organisation of Islamic Conference, to mobilize international opinion, resources and resolution for more effective tsunami early-warning systems.
  • Establishment of an all-party Parliamentary Select Committee on Reduction of Disasters.


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman