Back in August 2009 it came to my mind that Malaysia needs a functional Emergency Response Center, hereinafter is called Malaysia Emergency Response Centre (“MERC”).

Bukit Antarabangsa Landslide

Five people were killed when a huge landslide hit Taman Bukit Mewah in Ampang, destroying 14 bungalows and forcing thousands to evacuate. The landslide occurred just kilometres from the site of the fateful Highland Towers disaster in 1993.

This is based on few tragedies and catastrophes that happened in Malaysia such as the 2008 Bukit Antarabangsa landslide that occurred on Saturday, 6 December 2008 in Bukit Antarabangsa, Ulu Klang, Selangor, Malaysia. Five people were killed and more than eight others are feared buried in that Bukit Antarabangsa landslide, near Kuala Lumpur. The landslide, which is believed to have buried 14 bungalows in Taman Bukit Mewah and Taman Bukit Utama, occurred at about 4 a.m. MST.

For the benefits of Malaysia citizens, MERC shall be a Government of Malaysia’s initiative to how the Nation conducts all-hazards response. It shall be built upon scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordinating structures to align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation, linking all levels of government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. MERC shall capture specific authorities and best practices for managing incidents that range from the serious but purely local, to large-scale terrorist attacks or catastrophic natural disasters.

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The term “response” as used hereinafter includes immediate actions to save lives, protect property and the environment, and meet basic human needs. Response also includes the execution of emergency plans and actions to support short-term recovery. Effective response to an incident shall be a shared responsibility of governments at all levels, the private sector and NGOs, and individual citizens.

The proposed MERC shall be implemented in the context of a threat, in anticipation of a significant event, or in response to an incident. Selective implementation shall allow for a scaled response, delivery of the resources needed, and an appropriate level of coordination.

Incidents include actual or potential emergencies or all-hazards events that range from accidents and natural disasters to actual or potential terrorist attacks. They include events wholly contained within a single jurisdiction and others that are catastrophic in nature and national in their scope or consequences. It is not always obvious at the outset whether a seemingly minor event might be the initial phase of a larger, rapidly growing threat.

To be continued… Part II – MERC Conceptual Framework, Roles and Responsibilities.

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