1. Introduction Malaysia isoften considered as a safe country, unlike others hit by disasters likeearthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and tsunami. Many Malaysians may havetaken the issue of safety for granted because Malaysia does not get as many earthquakesas other nations do (Thye, 2015).
For instance, ashocking strong earthquake with a magnitude of 5.8 strikes Lahad Datu, Sabah in1976 (Bernama, 2013). No one knows whenand where such quake will occur, but the risk of injury, death and propertyloss during an earthquake can be reduced by everyone if they are aware andprepared in facing this natural catastrophe.
In this research, the level of awareness and preparedness of Malaysiancitizens on earthquake is being investigated. The objectives of thisstudy are to examine the perceived disaster preparedness among Malaysians, toexamine the source of information on disasters and to provide recommendationsbased on the findings. 2. Geography and location of MalaysiaMalaysia is located in the southeast of the Asian continent and is often referred to asSoutheast Asia. Malaysia consists of two major parts which are PeninsularMalaysia and East Malaysia. Peninsular Malaysia is situated on the southernmostsection of the Malay Peninsula, south of Thailand, north of Singapore and eastof the Indonesian island of Sumatra while East Malaysia comprises most of thenorthern part of Borneo island, with land borders shared with Brunei to thenorth and Indonesia which is to the south. Malaysia also lies within the SundaMicroplate, a “small” tectonic plate that also includes much of Indonesia.
Thecountry lies within the plate, and thus it doesn’t have the usual strain build upthat would cause earthquakes. There are parts of Malaysia (close to Java,Indonesia and the Philippines) where tectonic forces are sufficient to generateearthquakes, as the 2015 Sabah Earthquake proved. Earthquakes can happen but forthe most part, Malaysia doesn’t get as many earthquakes as other nations do (Williams, 2017). In an article, a seismologyexpert, Dr Mohd Rosaidi Che Abas said that the threat of an earthquake cannotbe ignore. Even though the possibility of Malaysia being hit by a strong andhuge earthquake remains slim, know that Malaysia is close to areas that haveexperienced strong earthquakes, including both Sumatra and Andaman Sea, whileSabah and Sarawak are located close to the earthquake zone of South Philippinesand North Sulawesi. Therefore, the odds of an earthquake affecting Malaysiacannot be ruled out (Bernama, Malaysian Digest, 2013). 3. Findings based on survey and researchThis section discusses thefindings of the data collection conducted for this investigation.
Data wascollected for this study through a survey (Appendix I). A total of 131respondents who answered the survey to see if they are aware and prepare forearthquake.3.1 Respondent ProfileAs shown in figure 1 and 2, interms of age group, majority of respondents were from above 30 age bracketswhich accounted for 42%. 32.
8% from the respondents were from the age of 16-20,13% were from the age of 26-30 and the least are from the age of 21-25 whichwas 12.2%. Overall, in term of gender, there are more respondents from femaleas compare to male which was the respondents from female contribute 63.4% ofthe total respondents.
Figure 1: Age of Respondents Figure 2: Gender ofRespondents 3.2 Experience, Preparation andAwarenessRespondents were asked whetherthey have experienced earthquake in their life. Based on Figure 3, among 131 respondents,a total of only 26 people (19.8%) have experienced an earthquake while theothers have not experienced it. Most of the respondents never experienceearthquake their whole life. The respondents were also asked whether they wereprepared in facing an earthquake. Of those surveyed, based on Figure 4, majorityof the respondents (61.1%) believed that they were not prepared for anearthquake and 30.
5% of the respondents believed that somehow they were readyto face an earthquake. Only 8.4% who feel that they were adequately preparedfor an earthquake. From this, we can conclude that there was less exposure onhow to survive during earthquake towards Malaysian citizens.Figure 3: Experiencingearthquake Figure 4: Readiness onpreparing for an earthquake In addition, respondents wereasked on whether they know what they have to do during earthquake (refer Figure5).
The number of respondents who do not know what to do and where to go duringearthquake and also the respondents who think they might know what to do andwhere to go are the same. Only 16% of the respondents claimed to be knowledgeableand confident about what to do and how to prepare themselves in the event ofnatural disaster or emergency. Figure 5: Knowledge on what todo at the time of an earthquakeOn the next question in thesurvey, respondents were asked on their level of concern for an earthquake toaffect Malaysia. The following Figure 6 shows the level of concern of therespondents. The results show that most of the respondents are very concernthat an earthquake will affect our community.
By this, we can prove that eventhough most people do not know what to do during disaster, they are concernabout it and more information should be given to the citizens. This reflectsthat they are sure of the risk posed by an earthquake. Figure 6: Level of Concern ofMalaysian Citizens 3.3 Information ReceivedFindings also shows that 43.
5%have received earthquake preparedness information while the remaining 56.5%have not received any information regarding earthquake preparedness. We thenanalysed the source of information received by the respondents. The mostpopular way on receiving information about earthquake was through internet. Theleast popular way on how to receive those important information was throughgovernment. This shows that government should do something to spread moreinformation to all the citizens so that they are prepared in facing anearthquake. Figure 7: Information received Chart 1: How do they receive information 4.
Results and Education4.1 ResultsBased on the survey, overall,we can conclude that there were still lacking of awareness and preparednessamong Malaysian citizens. We believe that in case any earthquakes are going tohappen in Malaysia, most Malaysian are not prepared to face it. The fact isthat Malaysia is often regarded as a safe country, unlike others hit bydisasters like earthquakes, typhoons, volcanic eruptions and tsunami hasprobably given rise to a lackadaisical attitude towards safety amongMalaysians. Though Malaysia is not prone to earthquake, however, in case of anyearthquake experience either during travelling or irregular occurrence inMalaysia, citizens should be well educated.
Malaysia should adopt atotal-safety culture like Japan, where the people on the spot are thefirst-responders. We must never assume that Malaysia is safe from disasters.With climate change, we may encounter more natural disasters. 4.2 EducationSo how can we preventearthquake from happening? We cannot stop natural disasters from happening butwe can be prepared in facing it. Awareness on earthquake should be given toeveryone especially to Malaysian citizens. We would not know what is going tohappen in the real future, preparation in facing natural earthquake is reallyimportant. Up to date, there is not much info and publicity on earthquake forpublic awareness.
The key toreducing loss of life, personal injuries, and damage from natural disasters iswidespread public awareness and education. People must be made aware of whatnatural hazards they are likely to face in their own communities. They shouldknow in advance what specific preparations to make before an event, what to doduring a hurricane, earthquake, flood, fire, or other likely event, and whatactions to take in its aftermath.
In order to educate thecitizens on preparation during an earthquake, many efforts are needed and themost important thing is, the nation has to cultivate a national consciousnesson earthquake. Early steps should be taken to be ready and prepared in facingnatural catastrophe. National public awareness programme should be executed atall levels to provide pertinent information to public. Government should paymore attention as Malaysia is not forever safe from earthquake and they shouldplay an important role in spreading info so that Malaysians can cope when theyare facing with one. We should not wait until the disaster struck. Equally important, publicofficials and the media — television, radio, and newspapers — must be fullyprepared to respond effectively, responsibly, and speedily to large-scalenatural emergencies. They need to be aware, in advance, of procedures to followin a crisis that threatens to paralyze the entire community they serve, andthey need to know how to communicate accurate information to the public duringa natural disaster.
An early-warning is also important so that people will beprepared during the disaster. An early-warning system can make a hugedifference between life and death. Apart from improving early warning system,we should also develop an efficient communication and response system. In thisregard, we need to learn from the best practices of other countries to adaptmeasures that are suitable.