Cops Question MUDA Volunteers For Helping Flood Victims Without Official Permission

According to party president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, six MUDA volunteers in Johor were called up by police for directly providing aid to flood victims without prior permission from the Segamat district officer.

Cover image via Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Facebook)

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Six Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA) volunteers were called up by police for questioning for providing aid to flood victims directly, according to party president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman

In a Facebook live stream today, 9 January, Syed Saddiq said that the volunteers were questioned by Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) over an alleged breach of the procedure while delivering assistance.

"The reason they were questioned was that they had delivered assistance directly to individuals who requested help at relief centres and some homes. They did not deliver the assistance to the designated locations," the Muar member of parliament (MP) said during the Facebook live session from Segamat.

Syed Saddiq explained that the MUDA volunteers only helped the flood victims as they personally requested help from the Segamat district temporary flood relief centre.

"Our volunteers went there not to exacerbate the situation, but to provide aid for the flood victims. There were even some news reports claiming that some of the victims in the relief centres and flood areas did not get food and other necessary items on time. We are just doing our best to help the rakyat. For the flood victims even one or two days or a few hours will make much difference," the Muar MP

Of the six volunteers, five were called up by the police on Friday, 7 January, while one was called up yesterday to give a statement

The MUDA president urged authorities to not treat volunteers like criminals to the point that they need to be called in for questioning when all they had done was to provide 200 beds, 200 pillows, and food boxes.

"I hope the police will show empathy and compassion towards the volunteers. The volunteers are working day and night without hoping anything in return," he added.

Malaysiakini reported Johor MUDA chief Mohd Azrol Ab Rahani, one was of the volunteers questioned, saying their team responded to requests from flood victims at a school in Segamat on 5 January.

"We were accused of breaching SOP because we did not get permission from the Segamat district officer. After we left, the next day we were told several police reports were lodged against us," Azrol was quoted as saying, adding that police treated them well throughout the questioning session.

Syed Saddiq, however, apologised and said that they will seek the district officer's permission next time they go to help the victims

"On behalf of MUDA's leadership, I would like to apologise because our intention was not to cause any difficulties," he said, adding that he, as the party president, takes full responsibility for this situation.

Amidst the issue, the Segamat district disaster management committee has issued a statement, saying that anyone wishing to help in post-flood relief work needs to file paperwork for coordination

According to the committee's statement, the application that must be filed at the Center for Segamat Flood Operation Control is required for the purpose of coordination, safety, and well-being of all parties.

It added that every application needs to be approved by its chairperson.

Meanwhile, on his official Twitter handle, he responded to Johor Tourism, Youth, and Sports Committee chairman Onn Hafiz Ghazi, who called on Syed Saddiq not to make the police his scapegoat

Onn Hafiz said that among the agencies that have been directly assisting in the floods was the police and as such he condemns anyone who tries to take advantage of the situation to tarnish PDRM's integrity.

To which, Syed Saddiq responded that he isn't criticising the police for carrying out their duties, but it's the SOPs that are wrong and have made life difficult for the people.

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