Criticism rains on absent leaders as floodwaters rise

25 December 2014

More than 90,000 people have been evacuated in the peninsula’s east cost states as floodwaters rise due to incessant rain. While the floods are an annual event, this year’s edition has been the worst in living memory.

Hence, the mounting criticism against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has been photographed having a round of golf with US President Barack Obama in Hawaii on Christmas Eve.

This is not the first time a Malaysian prime minister has been under flak for not being around when floods hit the country hard. The last was in 2006 when then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was holidaying in Perth while floodwaters inundated Johor.

Pak Lah, as he is popularly known, came back but the damage was done. It is not known if Najib will cut short his annual year-end holiday and fly home to lead the relief operations.

Some of Najib’s defenders say he is conducting golf diplomacy with the world’s sole superpower and a photo opportunity of him in waist-deep waters will not necessarily help relief efforts.

But there are critics who say the prime minister should be in the country, rather than tweet or put Facebook status updates about what he has asked his government to do for relief efforts.

After all, the floods are an annual event and most agencies are equipped to handle it.

The point really is as simple as this. This is the biggest floods to hit Malaysia since 1971 and the prime minister is not here.

All the niceties and decrees through social media are lost on the flood victims, who are without electricity and are either trapped in their houses or in relief centres where politicians remain a rare sight.

Perhaps all are also on holidays like the prime minister. And they do deserve their break as much as anyone else. But they all should be back in Malaysia to as part of the flood relief works. Nothing beats being around to help, rather than a tweet or a Facebook status update.

This is Malaysia, where politicians are expected to be around 24/7, especially in the east coast states.

The Perak sultan has shown his empathy in his flood-hit state by cancelling New Year celebrations. Others should, too, because we all need to help fellow Malaysians in their time of need. And if there is nothing else we can give, at least be here for them. – December 25, 2014.

  1. #1 by winstony on Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 5:06 pm

    I suggest turning this blog into a forum to facilitate a better exchange of views between LKS and the general public.

  2. #2 by boh-liao on Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Fiddle while Rome burns
    Golf while States drown

    Tweeting: CAN use handbags 2 bail water out of your flooded homes
    Note: Even Hermes Birkin bags can b used too, emergency mah

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 5:13 pm

    Selangor government STILL keen 2 hv its 2015 New Year celebration?

  4. #4 by john on Thursday, 25 December 2014 - 10:50 pm

    Unless is already in General Election Period.
    As it is, there’s still time for that vote getting scheming time.

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