A former Malaysian member of Parliament has urged the city of Putrajaya, Malaysia to implement a national flood insurance scheme to back affected groups of families and other vulnerable people in case of natural catastrophes.
Charles Santiago, a member of the Democratic Action Party of Malaysia, said that the current floods in the states of Johor and Pahang highlight an important need to provide relief to those affected by disastrous weather events. Santiago also noted that these floods disproportionally affect the bottom 40% (B40) and middle 40% (M40) groups, pushing them further into poverty.
“Hence, Malaysia must implement a national flood insurance scheme that should be made available in all states with subsidised rates for B40 households,” Santiago said in a statement.
Victims in the flood in Johor have reached more than 32,000, with all 10 districts within the state affected by the continuous heavy rain over the past few days. Among this number, four fatalities have been recorded thus far, with one more in the state of Pahang.
Santiago further elaborated on his point by citing the United Kingdom’s Flood Re scheme, calling for a similar one for Putrajaya that is designed to make flood coverage more available, affordable, and accessible. The UK scheme is a joint initiative by the government and the insurance industry, and an implementation for Malaysia could be created which will be accountable to the Parliament.
“The United States and South Korea offer public insurance schemes, which our Asean neighbours like the Philippines and Thailand have adopted, where the premium is in proportion to the risk of flooding in a particular area,” Santiago said. He also noted that such schemes increase affordability and accessibility to a wider population.
Stressing the death and destruction brought on by these floods, Santiago said that the floods serve as a warning that more work must be done to lessen the effects of climate change.
“The government must also immediately put protective measures in place to shield vulnerable communities from its devastating effects,” Santiago said.
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