I won't leave patients in the middle of a surgery, says minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Drawing on his medical training, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Special Functions) Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad today told the Dewan Rakyat he would not leave his patients midway through a surgery in responding to criticism over the management of the recent floods.

"I was trained as a doctor, I would not leave my patients in the middle of an operation," he told the special Dewan Rakyat sitting.

He said this in response to M. Kulasegaran (PH-Ipoh Barat), who called for Dr Abdul Latiff's resignation over his alleged failure to manage the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) during the flash floods recently.

The Mersing parliamentarian was only given 20 minutes for his speech, but was constantly interrupted by MPs asking him to provide a direct answer.

Khalid Samad (PH-Shah Alam) asked the minister to provide a clear answer on how the government was planning to improve assistance for flood victims as he was running out of the 20 minutes allocated for his winding-up speech.

Dr Abdul Latiff instead continued with his speech, stating that the government would continue improving the management of Nadma including reviewing the recommendations of the MPs by forming a bipartisan committee.

"It is important that we consider everyone's opinions as promised by the prime minister by establishing a committee to evaluate all the suggestions on disaster management for now and the future.

"We will ensure the management of disasters will be looked into more in-depth and thoroughly, there needs to be a source of authority," he said.

Dr Abdul Latiff added that Nadma would be improved in line with current technological developments, by ensuring the use of disaster data from various agencies was standardised.

He said data on disasters would be applied with features that have a predictive impact to provide space for relevant agencies to prepare in advance.

"Therefore, we need dynamic, accurate information to ensure that all efforts can be better planned and implemented quickly," he said.

The debate session saw 44 parliamentarians from both sides providing suggestions and criticism, and raising complaints and grievances about the flash floods that hit the Klang Valley and several states in the Peninsular in December last year.

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