Archive for December, 2014

Insurance regulator confirms emergency declaration won’t affect payout for floods

Malay Mail Online
December 31, 2014 04:41 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Despite Putrajaya’s argument, Malaysia’s insurance regulator has confirmed insurance firms will not be absolved of liability in paying out compensation for flood claims filed if a state of emergency were declared.

The General Insurance Association of Malaysia (Piam) said its member companies must process the claims so long as flood is an “insured peril”.

While standard motor and fire insurance policies exclude coverage against losses caused by natural catastrophes, PIAM said that the option to cover disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons, cover for flood-related loss or damage, can be purchased as an extension to the policies.

“All policyholders, both businesses and individuals, located at the flood-stricken areas are therefore advised to check their fire and motor policies to determine whether they are covered for loss or damage resulting from the floods,” Piam, which is made up of 29 insurance firms, said in a statement emailed today.

“Piam would like to advise the public to review their insurance policies with their insurers or insurance agents to establish if the cover provided is sufficient to mitigate any serious financial impact due to flood losses and damages,” it said. Read the rest of this entry »


In Kelantan floods, unsung heroes emerge

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
31 December 2014

The flood that engulfed several areas in Kelantan the past week has left a trail of destruction and misery, but harrowing reports of altruism and bravery have also emerged as ordinary Malaysians step up to the task of helping out their fellow men.

Teacher Muhammad Apandi Hashim, 46, spent the first night of the floods in his 3.5m boat, manoeuvring through electric poles in the dark through the rushing water to rescue countless villagers in Tanah Merah who were beyond the reach of official rescue teams.

The first pair he rescued that Wednesday evening were his neighbour’s elderly parents, who were stranded in a village about an hour away from his house.

“I was all prepared to evacuate my house with my family, when my neighbour asked me if I could pick up his parents with my boat. When people ask for help like that, how can you refuse?” he told The Malaysian Insider when met at his house in Kampung Cherang Lali, Tanah Merah, yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

A wretched, horrendous year, with little cheer

31 December 2014

2014 has been a wretched and horrendous year for Malaysia, with very little spots of sunny cheer for Malaysians. All 52 weeks have seen us angry and sad – not quite the happy Malaysia Truly Asia that we portray in tourism advertisements.

Grief has been Malaysia’s main point of unity – from the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on March 8 to flight MH17 that was shot out of the sky on July 17 to the tragic crash of AirAsia Bhd Indonesian affiliate’s flight QZ8501 on December 28, in the last days of the year.

Three commercial plane crashes linked to Malaysia in just a year – what are the chances of that?

And while that dominated the headlines, there has been other events that added to Malaysia’s grief. Statistics showed that 189 people died of dengue so far this year, up from 95 in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Kuala Krai devastated by floods

– The Malaysian Insider/Bernama
31 December 2014

Like a place attacked by a giant bird or the ancient ‘garuda’. This is the description of the severe destruction caused by the floods in several villages in the district of Kuala Krai.

It also gives a reminder of the tsunami tragedy that occurred in 2004 when one looks at the damage suffered by the villagers.

In Sungai Durian, several houses totally collapsed after the the village was submerged by the floods on December 23 and forced the residents to seek shelter at evacuation centres.

Rosmaria Ghazali, 34, could only cry when seeing her home submerged up to the roof, her house and furniture totally ruined. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Why Najib only realised that the floods disaster is a “major catastrophe” on the fourth day his return from Hawaii and why he had not visited the two worst-hit areas of Gua Musang and Kuala Krai last Saturday?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, said after his visit to Gua Musang and Kuala Krai yesterday that the floods disaster is a “disaster” or even “major catastrophe”, describing Gua Musang and Kuala Krai as two of the worst-hit districts in Kelantan.

I have been brooding over the Prime Minister’s comments since reading them on online news portals yesterday evening, and the question which kept returning to my mind was why the Prime Minister had not visited the two worst-hit flood-damaged areas when he rushed back from Hawaii last Saturday on 27th December.

Was the Prime Minister misled by the National Security Council (NSC), which gave the Prime Minister a special briefing on the floods situation when Najib arrived at the Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bharu at 1.40 pm last Saturday?

I would imagine that the Prime Minister would have wanted to visit the worst-hit flood-damaged areas on his immediate return from Hawaii.

Did the NSC withhold the information from the Prime Minister that Gua Musang and Kuala Krai were the two worst-hit areas, or did the Prime Minister decide on his own not to visit the two worst-hit areas of Gua Musang and Kuala Krai to bring immediate reliefs and comfort to the stranded people in Gua Musang and Kuala Krai?

Or was the NSC at the time unaware that Gua Musang and Kuala Krai were the two worst-hit flood areas, as the NSC in its statement yesterday admitted that there was a “complete collapse” of its chain of command and communications at the district level in Kelantan and Terengganu when the NSC “front-liners”, the village headmen and district officers, fell victim to the floods? Read the rest of this entry »


Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians

2015 New Year Message

    It is so easy to give way to despair at the tides of adversity Malaysians have to go through in 2014 and to write off the future for Malaysia – the unprecedented three air disasters in a year (MH370, MH17 and QZ8501) which no other country had ever had to experience, the worst floods disaster in recent decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism putting to the ultimate test the Merdeka and Malaysia national compacts of 1957 and 1963 to be an oasis of multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural harmony, tolerance and co-existence in an increasingly troubled and fractious world.

    Every cloud has a silver lining and this holds true for the adversities Malaysians had to undergo in 2014 – the air disasters and the worst floods disaster in decades galvanizing Malaysians to stand in sympathy, support and solidarity with the victims and the aggrieved and the rise of moderates, best exemplified by the Open Letter by 25 Eminent Malays to the Prime Minister and the snowballing of support by ordinary moderate Malaysians regardless of race, religion, politics or region to save Malaysia from the bigots and extremists.

    Malaysians must stay strong, hopeful and confident despite a year of great adversities with three air disasters, the worst floods disaster in decades and the rise of bigotry and extremism to build a common, united, moderate and prosperous future for all Malaysians. Read the rest of this entry »


10 questions about the AirAsia Flight QZ8501 tragedy

By Laura Smith-Spark and Ashley Fantz, CNN
December 30, 2014

(CNN) — The discovery of debris from AirAsia Flight QZ8501 means investigators have taken a big step toward answering the questions haunting the families of those aboard the doomed plane. What are the key questions, and what might come next?

What caused the plane to crash?

It’s the million-dollar question. And as yet, nobody knows. Ahead lies a possibly months-long investigation into what happened after the Airbus A320-200 lost contact with air traffic control early Sunday.

Shortly beforehand, the pilot requested permission to turn and climb to a higher altitude because of bad weather, according to Indonesian officials.

Some experts have said the aircraft might have experienced an aerodynamic stall because of a lack of speed or from flying at too sharp an angle to get enough lift.

Analysts have also said that the pilots might not have been getting information from onboard systems about the plane’s position or that rain or hail from thunderstorms in the area could have damaged the engines.

The key to understanding what happened is likely to be contained in the aircraft’s cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, commonly known as black boxes.

“Until we get the black boxes, we won’t know what’s going on with the engines,” Bill Savage, a former pilot with 30 years of experience, told CNN. Read the rest of this entry »


The flood woes in Kelantan

– Johan James
The Malaysian Insider
28 December 2014

Almost every year, Kelantan and a few other east coast states are flooded due to the heavy monsoon rain towards the end of the year. But this time around, Kelantan and the other east coast states were hit by major floods since year 2004.

Is this a never ending curse for these states, especially Kelantan? Who are supposed to be blamed for this annual mishap suffered by the Kelantanese? Central government? State government? Or the wrongdoings of the locals in Kelantan? Read the rest of this entry »


What has Umno/BN government learned from natural disasters?

– Nawawi Mohamad
The Malaysian Insider
29 December 2014

Malaysia has experienced several natural disasters which resulted in loss of lives and properties starting back in December 1993 with the collapse of two blocks of the Highland Towers, then the tsunami in 2004, recent Cameron Highlands landslides and the latest being the unprecedented floods in Kelantan, Pahang and Terengganu.

By the way, with so frequent flooding, we ought to be professional in facing them by now. Unfortunately, we are never ready and never prepared.

In the Highland Towers tragedy, we lacked experience such that the Japanese Civil Defence sent a team to help in the search and rescue effort. Search and rescue teams from Singapore, France, United Kingdom and the United States also came to help. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

UPDATE 6-Bodies, debris from missing AirAsia plane pulled from sea off Indonesia

Dec 30, 2014

By Wilda Asmarini and Adriana Nina Kusuma

JAKARTA, Dec 30 (Reuters) – Indonesian rescuers searching for a missing AirAsia plane carrying 162 people pulled bodies and wreckage from the sea off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday as relatives of those on board broke down in tears on hearing the news.

Indonesia AirAsia’s Flight QZ8501, an Airbus A320-200, lost contact with air traffic control early on Sunday during bad weather on a flight from the Indonesian city of Surabaya to Singapore.

The navy said 40 bodies had been recovered as dusk fell.

The plane has yet to be found and there was no word on the possibility of any survivors. Read the rest of this entry »


Declare state of emergency now

– Dr. Tan Eng Bee
The Malaysian Insider
30 December 2014

I agree with the expert opinion that the powers-that-be should have declared a state of emergency for the affected states in the worst floods in history. This flood is unlike previous floods as the damage and destruction affected about a third of the peninsula’s land mass or more in my estimation, and that is cause for concern.

The devastation is so disastrous and serious by all counts. Unless an emergency is declared as soon as possible to allow government agencies and NGOs to work towards bringing reliefs to the people who are already suffering from the wet condition and in dire need of food and water, I am afraid the misery and anguish of the affected masses would intensified and surpassed all previous floods.

Despite the authorities telling the masses not to believe everything in social media, the fact remains the poor coordination of the various agencies bringing humanitarian aid, such as food and water and other supplies, has not reached many affected areas and the cries for help are still being heard far and wide across the nation.

Whether we want to believe it or not, we have reached a critical and dangerous stage where the welfare of the affected people is threatened and every form of humanitarian aid and resources must now be geared towards bringing food and water and other form of relief to relief centres without delay.

If we cannot reach them by road, then we have no alternative but to reach them by air.
Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Flood evacuees eager to return home

Dec 30, 2014

FLOODS The bright, sunny weather and receding flood waters have allowed many evacuees to return to their respective homes after spending six days at the evacuation centre.

A Bernama survey at Sekolah Kebangsaan Pulai Serai in Dungun, Terengganu, found more than 500 victims housed there already packing and preparing to return home.

However, the water level at the homes of flood victims in Kampung Alor Mak Bah had still not subsided.

The victims told Bernama that due to the rapidly rising water, they failed to save any belongings because the flood this time was beyond their expectation. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

1MDB’s Lodin answers nothing

P. Gunasegaram
TigerTalk | DECEMBER 29, 2014

Tiger is appalled at the misinformation that 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) chairman Lodin Wok Kamaruddin has dished out, claiming he is answering questions posed by the press. Its just a masquerade – as Tiger will show, he answers nothing.

Just before Christmas, the 1MDB chairman responded to recent press outbursts over 1MDB’s activities, expressing surprise over suggestions that the strategic development company has not responded to questions.

In a lengthy 2,500-word statement (reproduced in full at the end of this TigerTalk for those who would like to hear it from the horse’s mouth) he proceeded to give 1MDB’s version of unfolding events. It was a crafty piece of work, using half-truths to mask the shenanigans taking place at 1MDB, wholly owned by the Minister of Finance Inc to bring strategic investments into the country.

Let Tiger demolish some of Lodin’s arguments by simply extracting the relevant paragraphs and giving his own take on what the chairman says. The reader can judge for himself and if he wants context he can refer to Lodin’s statement reproduced in full without any alteration. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Flood mitigation in Kelantan

– Koon Yew Yin
The Malaysian Insider
30 December 2014

Like all Malaysians, much of my attention during the past week has centered on the news and scenes of the flood devastation that has occurred in the country, especially in Kelantan.

While I also share the concern of many others as to whether our political leaders and authorities have been on top of their game or have bungled in their disorganized efforts at providing relief, the mainfocus of my scrutiny has been on whether any practical mitigation measure can be undertaken to minimize the impact of this almost annual climatic phenomenon which has caused so much sufferingand socio-economic loss.

In looking for an answer, I believe I am better qualified than most people in the country in view of my long experience as an engineer who has been involved in various major water-related projects such as the Muda Irrigation scheme since the 1960’s. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Court ruling affirms religious authorities are limited by law

30 December 2014

There is the law and no one, including religious authorities, can overstep the limits of the law even if they invoke religion as a right.

For too long now, some state religious authorities in Malaysia have issued fatwas (opinions) and treated them as immutable regulations that can be imposed at will and without recourse.

Today, the Court of Appeal affirmed that these state religious authorities have no such power when it upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Federal Territory Islamic Religious Department (Jawi) was wrong in raiding and seizing copies of a controversial book from a Borders bookstore in Kuala Lumpur.

The book, “Allah, Liberty and Love” by Irshad Manji, was seized before a fatwa banning it was issued and, as such, Jawi’s actions were deemed illegal and unconstitutional. Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Two extra reasons for a RCI into Floods Disaster Management Preparedness and why this should be top agenda of a Cabinet special meeting on floods disaster

The latest developments in the floods disaster have given two extra reasons why there should be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Floods Disaster Management Preparedness and why this should be the top agenda of a special Cabinet meeting on the floods disaster.

First, the Malay Mail report that the medical evacuation (medevac) mission for two mothers with severe labour complications was delayed on Sunday for almost two hours at the Badang health clinic by VVIP visits to flood-hit areas.

Dr. Afiq Rahim, stationed at Badang health clinic, recounted this in his facebook,, which has become one of the most closely-followed social media on the trials and tribulations of the dedicated medical personnel and public servants serving their duty under great odds in the current floods disaster.

Dr. Afiq should be an exemplary model for all Malaysians, right up to the Cabinet level, of how Malaysians should conduct themselves in the face of a colossal disaster – prioritizing the saving of the lives of others than to save oneself!

The first patient of a mother with difficult labour pains at the Badang health clinic came in on Sunday at 3.30am. At about 6am, doctors decided she required tertiary healthcare attention and medical evacuation.

But the helicopter which was summoned only arrived at 8am two hours later as the helicopter had to be put “on hold” as a VVIP wanted to visit the flood-hit areas. Read the rest of this entry »


Villagers stranded on hills as floods swept away homes

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
30 December 2014

In the remote village of Kampung Manek Urai Lama, Kuala Krai, in the east coast state of Kelantan, hundreds of villagers had been stranded for days up on the hills, having fled for higher ground when flood waters surged into their homes without warning.

The evacuation had been frightening and sudden, with no help from the authorities, according to Hayati (not her real name), who is among those seeking shelter on the hill after the flood devastated her house.

“The time when we needed them the most, the police, the firemen failed us,” she said, her eyes brimming with unshed tears.

No one in the village expected the flood to reach their homes. So when the water came rushing in at 3am last Tuesday, families scrambled to get to safety as frantic phone calls were made to the authorities to save them.

But the rescue team wouldn’t, or couldn’t, come, and the villagers had only themselves to rely on.

“The water was coming in so fast. When the police said they couldn’t come here, I thought, ‘that’s it, we’ll just have to climb onto the roof.

“But, thank God, someone in the village had a sampan so I quickly climbed in and squeezed into it with my two-month-old baby and we fled for the homes higher up on the hills,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments

Why Do Planes Keep Disappearing?

By Jeff Wise
Dec. 29, 2014

With AirAsia 8501, a storm could have been the cause. With Malaysia Airlines 370, we still don’t know.

March 8, 2014. Malaysia Airlines 370 takes off from Kuala Lumpur, heads north, and disappears 40 minutes into its flight. Dec. 28, 2014. AirAsia 8501 takes off from Surabaya, Indonesia, heads north, and disappears about 40 minutes into its flight.*

Are the events coincidental? Is there something about Southeast Asian passenger flights that makes them particularly vulnerable to Twilight Zone–style vanishing? Or have we entered a new era of air travel, in which anyone could disappear midair for no apparent reason?

There are certainly a number of parallels between the flights. AirAsia Indonesia is a daughter company of AirAsia, which—like Malaysia Airlines—is headquartered near Kuala Lumpur. Both flights were scheduled to arrive in the morning. Neither issued a distress call or sent out an emergency locator beacon signal. And then there’s the question of proximity, both temporal (the incidents took place less than 10 months apart) and spatial (QZ8501 was last seen on radar less than 50 miles from the final MH370 “ping ring”). Read the rest of this entry »


Questions for 2015

Tan Siok Choo
The Sun Daily
29 December 2014

WITH 2014 drawing to a close, I have several questions about issues that arose this year but could impact Malaysia’s future.

Question 1: Why does Putrajaya persist in maintaining Malaysia’s growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015 won’t be affected by plummeting prices of oil, a commodity that contributes significantly to federal government revenue?

Budget 2015 was prepared when Brent oil – the benchmark for Petronas’s Tapis blend – was in triple digits. Analysts estimate federal government revenue next year is based on an oil price of US$105 per barrel.

Last Friday, amid thin trade, Brent oil for February settlement closed at US$59.45 a barrel.

Labelling the World Bank’s revised forecast of 4.7% GDP growth next year as “too conservative”, top Malaysian policymakers announced the 5% to 6% economic growth target for 2015 will be maintained.

Admittedly, plummeting oil prices could be beneficial – it could stimulate global economic growth and reduce fuel costs for motorists and for sectors like airlines and truckers. Even so, shouldn’t Putrajaya prepare for the worst rather than adopt a wait-and-see attitude? Read the rest of this entry »

1 Comment

Epitomising Dr M’s criticisms of the gov’t

By Ganeshwaran Kana
6:43PM Dec 29, 2014

COMMENT Dear Dr Mahathir Mohamad. I would consider “vociferous” as the best and most suitable word to epitomise your criticisms against Malaysia’s government of the day in recent times. As a citizen of Malaysia, one has the right to speak of and criticise his or her government.

Although some of your arguments have gained public support, the current generation of Malaysia has all the rights to question policies and actions of your governance in the past.

To set the record straight right at the start, I am neither a supporter of Umno nor of “the other side”.

Nevertheless, being a civic-minded citizen of Malaysia, I would like to request your explanations pertaining to various issues spanning throughout your 22 years in your journey as the prime minister of Malaysia.

Although I duly recognise your contributions to Malaysia, any flaw and mistakes that took place under your long premiership should be taken as your mishandling. This is what real leaders do.

And, hopefully, this commentary of mine is not to be seen as seditious. Read the rest of this entry »

No Comments