The recent massive floods in Penang have been said to be one of the worst to hit the state
Many individuals and organisations have since stepped in to help thousands of Penang residents who are affected by the floods
As assets and assistance to help people affected by the flood continue to pour in, Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M) has raised public attention for being one of the biggest contributors during this time of need
It was reported that KP1M has been on a welfare mission since 7 November after receiving a directive from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to deploy aid and assistance to flood victims in Penang.
KP1M has been going around to different parts in Penang to distribute supplies of essential items such as mattresses, pillows, hygiene kits, sanitary pads, and infant formulas, among others, carried by at least 60 trailer lorries.
The NGO has also brought in 500 volunteers to assist in disaster relief operations.
However, contributions from KP1M turned into a controversial affair when some people started noticing that the flood relief items were branded with PM Najib's face
Photos which have surfaced online depict flood relief aid such as mattresses and pillows delivered to flood victims came with labels that included Najib's face and the words 'Sumbangan Biro Kebajikan UMNO Malaysia' (Contributions from UMNO Welfare Bureau) or 'Bantuan Bencana Alam Subangan Kelab Putera 1Malaysia' (Disaster relief contributions from Kelab Putera 1Malaysia).
This resulted in criticisms from some members of the public who questioned the necessity of having such labels on the flood relief aid, accusing the parties involved of "capitalising on the natural disaster and victims' miseries".
"Pray tell us whose bright idea was it to have the prime minister's face on these much-needed pillows and mattresses? And was Najib's face or photo printed on the fabric or was it on flyers/leaflets tagged to them?
"The very act of plastering a photo of the PM onto much-needed relief aid items is not only a gross insult to the government of the day but makes the number one leader of the nation look desperate and cheap," read an open letter by JD Lovrenciear, which was published on Malaysiakini.
The matter was further scrutinised when it was alleged that flood victims had to wait for three days before the aid reached them
According to Penang executive councillor Dr Afif Bahardin, the trailers carrying the disaster relief supplies only arrived three days after the flash floods hit Penang on 4 and 5 November, as relief centres were opened to shelter thousands of evacuees.
"For three days, all the flood victims at relief centres in the state slept on the bare floor, just to wait for pillows and mattresses with Najib’s face on it. I was there, I saw it for myself," he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today (FMT).
Afif also questioned how and where did KP1M receive its funds from to make such contributions
Stressing that he is not trivialising KP1M's efforts to help the flood victims in Penang, the Seberang Jaya assemblyman from PKR said that he just "wants to know" where the NGO got its funding from.
"In fact, I welcome the effort to help Penangites, no matter who they are.
"But I'm questioning the funding to this organisation in view of Putrajaya not sending us any funds for the floods," he said during the winding-up speech at the state assembly yesterday, 14 November, as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
Afif has also claimed that the federal government agency, the Welfare Department, has no funds ready to help flood victims. He questioned why is that so, especially at the end of the year "when flood disasters are to be expected".