Tuesday, 24 June 2014



Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamualaikum and very good morning to everyone.

1.       At the outset, allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the Royal Thai Government in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) for the successful convening of the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. Disaster risk is of global concern; and the convening of this prestigious biennial conference reflects Asia’s unwavering commitment towards reducing disaster risks.

2.       Having Thailand as the host for this year’s conference could not have come at a better time.As Thailand has just recently experienced the large scale flood in 2011,which ranked as the world’s fourth costliest disaster as of 2011 by the World Bank, we fully recognized the importance of this platform not only as the collective movement on DRR at national and regional level but also the opportunity for us to underpin the needs for DRR acculturation and mainstreaming at all levels and sectors to ensure our disaster resilience and sustainable development.

3.       The chosen theme for this year’s conference, i.e. “Promoting Investments for Resilient Nations and Communities” is aligned with the major challenges in HFA implementation in Asia and the Pacific. These are: addressing the underlying risk factors in development is the least progressive among the five HFA Priorities for Actions, and; although increasing slowly, investment in disaster risk management is still limited, jeopardizing the progress in developing national strategies and policies for DRR by the lack of their implementation, especially at local levels.

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

4.       In developing countries, although the number of deaths due to natural disasters is gradually decreasing largely due to advances in disaster preparedness and early warning capabilities, in terms of damage sustained however, the trend is reversed. These rising costs are the combined result of increasing urbanization, particularly in high-risk coastal areas, and the increasing complexity of our infrastructure.

5.       In many regions of the world however, the loss of property as well as lives continue to rise. Clearly, no society is immune from the threats of disasters.

6.       Risk in one word means uncertainty; which in turn reflects the doubt in one’s mind about what the future holds. Risk, as a form of uncertainty do bring about surprises which often result in crises for those companies,organizations, and even countries that often underestimate the potential impact of risk in the first place. Such companies and organizations, including nation soften fail to foresee and anticipate the potential financial implications that crises bring about.

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

7.       Investing for a safer tomorrow needs to be contextualized within the national framework.Local action requires investment in several areas. In addition to finance,investment in its broader context should also encompass institutional arrangement for mobilization, stakeholder participation, early warning and R&D, awareness and capacity building, as well as regional collaboration to improve preparedness at the local level.

8.       The financing and effective reduction of disaster risks however, requires a joint response from the private and public sectors. As complexity and costs rise,neither group can meet the challenge alone. This is particularly true for emerging economies that lack funds, yet must also deal with the increasing frequency and severity of natural disaster. Moreover, as the underlying risk exposure increase, the inflation-adjusted costs of future events could far exceed the limited government budget.

9.       With the onslaught of climate change, worldwide disasters are anticipated to increase. We need to inculcate a sense of urgency towards this issue because if we adopt a “business as usual” attitude the consequences can be quite disastrous. The high level of scientific uncertainty about the nature and consequences attributable to climate change, and the intrinsic relationship between climate change and DRR, both call for intensive research by scientific and academic institutions so that state-of-the-art knowledge and know-how can be translated into national policies and local actions.

10.    In 2005, Malaysia adopted the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015) together with 167 other countries. One of the positive results of the HFA implementation is the widespread recognition and acceptance of DRR as a valuable instrument for national planning and implementation. DRR has also served to heighten awareness about disasters at various levels. Many countries have also strengthened their respective national platforms for building multi-stakeholder consensus. This in turn has improved DRR governance.

11.     Paving the way to setup Malaysia’s National Platform on DRR, the National Security Council (NSC)together with the Southeast Asia Disaster Prevention Research Initiative(SEADPRI-UKM) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in the way to review and improve a draft of National Action Plan on Disaster Risk Management.  The draft action plan had been in preparation since the adoption of Melaka Declaration on Disaster Risk Reduction on 19 February 2011. The Declaration contains the nation’s direction in disaster risk reduction and efforts to fulfill the priority areas of the Hyogo Framework.

12.    The benefits of establishing a National Platform are manifold and these include:advocating disaster risk reduction at different levels; increasing levels of knowledge and skills related to disaster risk reduction; acting as a catalyst for national consultations and consensus building; and coordinating, analyzing,and advising on areas that requires concerted action, among others.Furthermore, the establishment of a National Platform would facilitate the effort of mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into policies, planning and development programs at various levels.

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

13.    The Government of Malaysia is indeed committed to disaster risk reduction and will continue its efforts when in the 10th Malaysia Plan(2010-2015), disaster risk management is implicitly implied in Chapter 6 under the section on developing a climate resilient growth strategy. For the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), the preparation of a strategy paper on disaster risk management would enable disaster risk management be mainstreamed more explicitly into development planning at both the Federal and State levels.

14.    In fact, the synthesis report on the Hyogo Framework for Action in Asia and the Pacific 2011-2013, Malaysia was placed in the highest category for achievement in implementation for Priority for Action 2 and 3 and the 2nd highest level of achievement in implementation for Priority for Action 1, 4 and 5. Malaysia is dedicated in reducing the underlying risks and vulnerability especially for hazard prone areas.

15.    In line with the Kuala Lumpur Declaration 2008 which called for greater public-private sector partnerships for disaster risk reduction, Malaysian Government linked companies such as PETRONAS and Sime Darby, in attracting foreign direct investment and undertaking infrastructural development, have also taken the initiatives to apply flood mitigation strategies and risk assessments in potential development areas. Public-private-partnership innovation is also evident in the construction of the state-of-the-art Stormwater and Road Tunnel (SMART Tunnel) system by the Malaysian Mining Corporation and Gamuda Berhad to prevent the occurrence of flash floods in the capital city.

Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

16.    Malaysia looks forward to the fruitful outcome of this conference especially new ideas to ensure the implementation of the new post-2015 framework for DRR and achieving consensus on how local, national, regional and international stakeholders can effectively address the new challenges brought about by disasters and climate change.

Thank you.

National Security Council
Prime Minister’s Department

11.00 am, June 24, 2014
Bangkok Convention Centre,
Centara Grand,
Bangkok, Thailand.