Archive for December, 2014

Lack of leadership in dealing with floods

By Jeswan Kaur
The Heat Online

GOING BY Putrajaya’s scramble to deal with the seasonal floods assailing the country, a quote from Abraham Lincoln comes to mind – “nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”.

For Malaysia, the true test of its leaders’ character has been revealed one too many a times and that too in the most unflattering of ways.

The classic case in point was Putrajaya’s fumbling over the March 8, 2014 disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which exposed the government’s weaknesses the world over.

However, the embarrassment that Putrajaya brought upon Malaysia with its apathy vis-à-vis the missing MH370 flight has not taught the government the much needed lesson in “thinking before speaking”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flood victims live off rainwater-soaked noodles

By Nazri Abdullah
Dec 29, 2014

Deprived of proper food, victims stranded in the country’s worst flood in decades have resorted to desperate measures to fill their growling stomachs.

Even those politically connected are not spared from the national disaster, which has displaced more than 225,000 people, as Annual Bakri Harun can testify.

Annual, a former political secretary to ex-Kelantan menteri besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, said he was forced to soak instant noodles in rain water for food.

“I have lived in the dark for the last five days and have only been eating biscuits.

“There are instant noodles, but no electricity to boil water and the stove is not working.

“Out of hunger, I was forced to collect rain water with my bare hands and pour them into the instant noodle cup. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call for RCI into Floods Disaster Management Preparedness as Federal government completely overwhelmed by scale and scope of current floods disaster with number of flood victims increasing by over 1,000% to a quarter of a million people in less than ten days

DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the country’s Floods Disaster Management Preparedness as it is very clear that the Federal government had been completely overwhelmed by the scale and scope of the current floods disaster, with the number of flood victims increasing by over 1,000 per cent to almost a quarter of a million people in less than ten days.

Evidence of the Federal Government being overwhelmed by the magnitude of the scale and scope of the current floods disaster is aplenty, as illustrated by the following instances:

1. Admission by the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the floods disaster was “worse than anticipated”’;

2. Admission by Muhyiddin that the flood mitigation standard operating procedure (SOP) must be reviewed in order to be better prepared in the future;

3. Muhyiddin’s proposal that Malaysia should learn more about disaster management system of other countries, especially Japan and South Korea, as they were known to have the best disaster management system in the world – a belated and very expensive discovery by a coalition which had been in power for 57 years! Read the rest of this entry »

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In Kuala Krai floods, humanity at its best and worst

by Pathma Subramaniam
The Malay Mail Online
December 29, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 ― For the past 20 years at least, residents in hilly Kuala Krai have led a carefree life whenever the annual northeast monsoon blew into Kelantan and turned large areas of the state the colour of the frothy, milky beverage beloved of Malaysians called teh tarik.

Local lore has it that “if it floods in Kuala Krai, the whole of Kelantan will be underwater”, Ryonn Leong, a native, told Malay Mail Online.

But the speed and fierceness that saw the waters of Sungai Kelantan burst its banks last week caught its long-time residents off-guard; there had never been a need for a flood safety plan as the water levels in the river had not risen past the danger mark in 20 years.

“I would scoff it off when any of our friends asked about the flooding in my hometown… who would have thought, one day it would become a reality?” the 34-year-old business development manager said.

While Ryonn now lives in Kuala Lumpur, the torrential rains that lashed Kelantan has been a “nightmare” as his family ― his elderly parents, his siblings and their young children ― were marooned in Kuala Krai by the floodwaters of near biblical proportions. Read the rest of this entry »


Do ministers need to be ordered to handle the floods?

28 December 2014

How times have changed?

In 1969, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein was diagnosed with cancer and told that he had four years to live. Around the same time, Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman’s neck cancer flared up again and his heart condition worsened.

Hardly anyone knew that Malaysia’s top two leaders were on a death watch. The doctors were sworn to secrecy and they went about governing the country, implementing policies and scouting successors.

It would have been so easy and understandable if both acted in their self-interest and stood down from the 24/7 job of looking after Malaysia.

Malaysians would have understood if they had opted for a less stressful life and put their young families ahead of everyone else.

But they didn’t. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transport woes hamper aid, supplies to nearly 200,000 flood victims

The Malaysian Insider
29 December 2014

The good news: Flood waters are receding and it was not raining in Kelantan yesterday although the number of evacuees there have risen to 134,139 last night.

The bad news: Many villagers are stranded without supplies, electricity or cash to buy basics such as candles or canned food as roads remain cut off to all land transport in most parts of the state.

“It’s chaos here,” one aid worker told The Malaysian Insider as he waited to get boats to distribute drinking water, biscuits and canned food in state capital Kota Baru yesterday.

He noted that some evacuation centres there were also flooded and unable to provide food for the flood victims while others came back empty handed from evacuation centres that had run out of supplies. “No co-ordination whatsoever. No proper governance of this disaster.

“One thing I can say from ground zero, our authorities are not prepared for a national disaster. Will we ever will?” the aid worker said. Read the rest of this entry »

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4 Expert Predictions for the Global Economy in 2015

James McBride and Jeanne Park
The Atlantic
Dec 26 2014

From GDP growth in China to consumer debt in the U.S., the stories to watch next year.

As 2015 dawns, instability in Russia, stagnation in Europe, and uncertainty in China are being offset by a sharp drop in oil prices that the International Monetary Fund says could boost global economic growth by as much as 0.8 percent above the expected 3.8 percent.

The United States “faces a debt reckoning,” writes Guardian finance and economics editor Heidi Moore. U.S. consumer debt worth $3.2 trillion and the resurgence of subprime lending are both danger signs for an economy that otherwise appears to be on the mend.

Europe too could face trouble in 2015 without major structural reform, argues the Council on Foreign Relations’ Robert Kahn. Growth and investment remain low, unemployment is “sky-high,” and early elections could once again put Greece “on a collision course with the rest of Europe.”

China, which is in the midst of a delicate rebalancing act, will de-emphasize GDP growth in favor of structural, financial, and energy reform, writes the Paulson Institute’s Damien Ma.

Finally, CFR’s Edward Alden foresees that 2015 could see “breakthroughs in global trade liberalization.” U.S.-led trade agreements with both Asia and Europe promise to boost growth, although they face significant obstacles at home and abroad. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flood victims top 200,000, K’tan worst hit

From Tweets on Kelantan Floods – 28.12.2014

1. Everything seems to be running out in Kota Bahru. Latest is helicopter fuel – resulting in several helicopters stranded at KB Heli hangar.

2. Helped in flood victim relief in Kota Bahru town. Visited Jln Gajah Mati and Jln Kubor Kuda area near riverfront. Shocking water chest-high.

3. Families in heart of town completely stranded become quite inaccessible, with speed of water current making roads quite treacherous rivers.

4. Wading through road-turned-river with treacherous currents unforgettable experience. Area visited full of shops restaurants hotels all shuttered.

5. Firefly could not fly all 101 cartons of supplies DAP Penang prepared for Kota Bahru – only transport 15 trolleys of 94 cartons of necessities. 16 cartons to go tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Plenty of smoking guns on illegal migrants in Sabah

By Simon Sipaun
Dec 27, 2014

COMMENT On page 267 of the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) report, it is stated that “Indeed, as far back as 1999, it was already reported in local newspapers in Sabah that it was a lucrative business being involved in fake ICs or genuine ICs illegally issued. There was much money to be made by syndicates or individuals or corrupt officials because a false IC could fetch between RM400 and RM500, and a Malaysian passport could cost up to RM50,000.”

Some people have claimed that a lot of activities associated with the illegal immigrants in Sabah represent an industry, and present opportunities and temptation for corruption. Corruption is a big problem in this country. It is also very costly.

I also hear of illegal immigrants becoming victims of enforcement personnel. They become part of the problem rather than the solution. Their vulnerability is often taken advantage of. I have heard stories that very often, enforcement personnel, usually towards the end of the month, demand to inspect the purses of illegal immigrants and take away some or all their monies.

Let me briefly make some comments on the RCI and its report. The RCI is the latest attempt by the federal government to show the public that it is doing something to resolve what is perceived to be a government-created problem for Sabah. Perception, being what it is, could be real or imagined.

But in the Sabah case, there are many signs of smoking guns. The problems associated with the illegal immigrants are often described as the mother of all problems. Read the rest of this entry »

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Flood evacuees now number over 160,000

– The Malaysian Insider/Bernama
27 December 2014

The floods took a turn for the worse in Kelantan by this afternoon, sending 81,925 people in all to relief centres, while the situation in Kedah continues to improve.

In Kelantan, 26,000 evacuees were recorded in Tumpat, making it the worst affected of the districts, followed by Kota Baru, with 24,034 evacuees.

Pasir Mas district also had a large number of evacuees, at 12,332. Kuala Krai had 5,200 evacuees; Gua Musang, 5,150; Machang, 4,039; Tanah Merah, 3,548; Jeli, 1,430 and Pasir Puteh, 192.

Kelantan Welfare Department director Nik Omar Nik Abdul Rahman said all the evacuees, from 20,177 families, were being housed at 254 relief centres throughout the state. Read the rest of this entry »


Hulu Dungun folk left with just clothes on their back

By Malaysiakini/Bernama
Dec 27, 2014

About 3,000 flood victims from 20 villages in Hulu Dungun who are left with only their clothes on their backs desperately need help in terms of food and clothing as nearly 80 percent of the houses have been submerged in water.

Kampung Shukor development and security committee (JKKK) chairperson Jailina Abdullah said almost all her village folk were left with the clothes on their backs after the devastating flood struck their village last week.

“The flood this time is very bad. In some parts of the village, only the roofs of houses could be seen… we could not save any of our personal belongings as the water rose too quickly.

“Clothes, baby napkins, sanitary pads, and other necessities are desperately needed by the villagers, and we are forced to wear the same clothes every day … we don’t know whom to ask for help from as almost everyone in the village is facing the same plight,” she told Bernama today.

Jailina said it was difficult to send aid to her village as the main road leading to it collapsed last week due to sinking soil. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet’s silence on bigotry is endorsement of bigotry

– Ravinder Singh
The Malaysian Insider
26 December 2014

Sorry about it, but the call by the MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to Malaysians “to heed the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on the issue of moderation and not be influenced by racial and religious extremist ideology disseminated by irresponsible groups” comes to me as a joke.

Similarly with the Prime Minister’s call on Malaysians “to come together in the spirit of harmony, acceptance and respect in celebrating Christmas”.

Liow is reported to have said that “Malaysia can continue to develop and progressonly when we learn to trust and respect each other and live together in peace and harmony”. This is an insult to Malaysians, for Malaysians had long ago accepted the various cultures and religious beliefs found in this land, and had been living in peace and harmony. It is not as if this is something new that they have to learn. Read the rest of this entry »


Show compassion, not self-righteousness

– Syerleena Abdul Rashid
The Malaysian Insider
27 December 2014

The recent flash floods in Malaysia have badly affected four states – Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Perak. Other states such as Negri Sembilan, Perlis, Kedah and Johor have also reported flooding in various areas.

The number of evacuees now stands at more than 130,000 (as of December 27) and is expected to rise in the next few days.

Many describe this year’s flood disaster as the worst in Malaysian history with several elected leaders pressuring the government to declare a state of emergency. The general well-being of the Malaysian public is under threat and government intervention is needed to minimise or prevent such calamity from escalating further. Read the rest of this entry »


Rescuers struggle to reach flood victims as anger mounts

The Malaysian Insider
27 December 2014

Rescue teams struggled to reach inundated areas of northeast Malaysia as victims accused the government of being slow to provide assistance after the country’s worst flooding in decades.

Malaysians have vented their anger at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak after the release of photos which went viral on social media showing him playing golf with US President Barack Obama during the storms.

The number of people forced to flee their homes climbed past 120,000 with weather forecasters warning of no respite for the northeastern states of Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang. Read the rest of this entry »

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Kelantan flood victims plead for aid, via social media

by Eileen Ng
The Malaysian Insider
27 December 2014

Desperate victims of the Kelantan flood and their families have turned to social media for help, pleading for food and water supplies in areas cut off by rising waters.

They have inundated the Info Banjir Kelantan community Facebook page since Thursday, and also via Twitter and Instagram social networks with pleas for help from the authorities to help evacuate those affected.

“THIS IS A PLEA – PLEASE REPOST/SHARE The people of Guchil, Kuala Krai, Kelantan are experiencing Food/Water/Power Outage,” Abby Latif posted on her Instagram account this morning.

She went on to relate that the local mosque, Masjid Guchil at Guchil 4 was not a registered relief centre and have not received any medical or food supplies despite housing some 200 families seeking refuge from the floods. Read the rest of this entry »


Call for full public support to the Prime Minister-led national response to the country-wide flood disaster with flood victims already exceeding 120,000 in seven states

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will arrive in Kelantan today to lead the national flood response after cutting short his vacation in Hawaii.

I call for full public support to the Prime Minister-led national response to the country-wide disaster with flood victims already exceeding 120,000 and at least eight deaths in seven states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak, Johore, Perlis and Kedah.

The response to the worst flood disaster in the nation’s history cannot be the government’s responsibility alone, but must involve the effort of all Malaysians, but it must by spearheaded by the Federal Government and in view of the magnitude of the disaster, by none other than the Prime Minister himself so as to mobilise every available ounce of resources to render help to those in need in the quickest possible time.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim was right when he said in Kelantan yesterday that there are adequate food supplies as well as assets to send them to flood victims, but the challenge is still how to send the essentials to those who had been stranded – like the heart-rending account of the approximately 100 victims taking shelter at a school in Kuala Krai who had been living without food, clean water, electricity or any aid for over 40 hours or those staying in outlying and inaccessible areas.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamad had recounted his ordeal on Thursday night experiencing first hand what it was like to grapple in the dark in waist-high floodwaters in search of safe ground, while knowing that a misstep can mean the end, and how a 10km journey from Keroh to the District Officer’s office in Kuala Krai took him and a rescue party four hours, arriving in pitch-dark as all powers had been cut off.

As admitted by the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muyhiddin Yassin in Pengkalan Chepa yesterday, although the government had expected one of the worst floods this year, the severity and scale of the floods had taken the authorities completely by surprise as it was “worse than anticipated”, overwhelming all disaster management plans and preparations. Read the rest of this entry »

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In Kelantan, desperate flood victims loot homes for food and fresh water

by Melissa Chi
Malay Mail Online
December 27, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 ― Grim conditions facing flood victims in Kelantan are driving a man here to consider renting a helicopter to fly aid to his family trapped by the deluge in the state.

Fearful of the dangers brought by the inundation that has already claimed seven lives and forced over 100,000 people from their homes, Ryonn Leong is mulling the drastic measure to reach his sister, elderly parents, younger brother and his pregnant wife, and their two-year-old daughter marooned in Kuala Krai.

The menace is also not purely elemental; desperation born of hunger and thirst has prompted some flood victims to begin looting homes for food and drink, risking unintended confrontations with owners yet to evacuate their property.

“Just few minutes ago, there are cases where people are breaking into houses to steal food and valuables too. This are caused mainly by food scarcity,” he told Malay Mail Online via text yesterday.

“(The) situation is getting tense as there are areas which people starting to fight for food and loot houses that are empty.”

In wicked irony, one item that is painfully scarce for victims surrounded by the floods is clean water for drinking. According to Leong, one mother in the Kelantan town was now forced to use rainwater to mix the infant formula for her six-month-old. Read the rest of this entry »

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More flooded areas, more evacuees, just less common sense

26 December 2014

If you do go to the Malaysian Meteorological Department website, there will not be any hint that Malaysia is going through its worst flood in decades, with nearly 120,000 people already evacuated in six states.

All it says is either isolated rain, scattered rain, thunderstorms or no rain in any given area in Malaysia. Nothing that would a hint of the incessant torrential rain deluging Malaysia this past week.

In fact, the number of people, equipment, aid and transport being scrambled to assist flood relief efforts will tell you a simple story – Malaysia was again caught unprepared for a disaster that has been likened to the US Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

As it is, the National Security Council’s (NSC) Portal Bencana (Disaster Portal) microsite only tells you of an incidence of flood and the location – nothing else. Read the rest of this entry »


As the floods, expected to the worst in nation’s history since 1971, are already “worse than expected” according to Muhyiddin, Najib must rush back to chair an special meeting of Cabinet within 24 hours to pave the way for declaration of a state of emergency

I commend the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for finally starting to visit the flood-hit states starting with Kelantan this morning to oversee the Federal Government’s flood-relief operations in what could be the worst floods in recent history.

I also fully support his call for deployment of more air, sea and land assets and the stockpiling of one-week food supply instead of only for four days in every evacuation centre.

The authorities had warned those on the east coast to brace themselves for the worst floods in recent history as a result of a powerful combination of king tides and strong winds, and the communities in the coastal areas and along river mouths had even been warned to ready themselves for immediate grab-and-go evacuations.

But it is clear that the ravages caused by the floods, with the total number of flood victims in six states exceeding 100,000 had been even worse than what the National Security Council (NSC) had envisaged.

This is the only interpretation of Muhyiddin’s statement at the flood relief centre in Pengkalan Chepa, Kota Bahru, this morning when he said that the floods was worse than anticipated – as if seeking excuses for the many weaknesses in the flood-relief operations so far.

This could only mean that although the Federal Government had expected the floods this year to be worst in recent history, it had not anticipated that the floods could be so bad – which is as good as admitting that the NSC was caught with its pants down.

With such a background, with the worsening flood situation with flood victims exceeding 100,000 in six states, and worse to come, the Cabinet should hold a special meeting within the next 24 hours to declare a state of emergency to concentrate all federal and state resources to handle the latest natural disaster in the country. Read the rest of this entry »


Disastrous floods at home, but Najib’s US vacation goes on

FMT Reporters| December 26, 2014

Lim Kit Siang writes how thousands are affected by the devastating floods, yet DPM not ready to declare “emergency” and PM is on vacation.

PETALING JAYA: Without having to say out loud how our prime minister and his deputy are failing the people during a time of great need, DAP elder statesman Lim Kit Siang succeeded in doing precisely that in his latest blog entry.

This early morning entry followed yesterday’s where he criticised Najib Razak for sneaking off to the US for a vacation while chaos and destruction overwhelmed the people of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak and Perlis.

Describing how the devastating floods have disrupted water supply and resulted in power cuts, Lim also stated how food rations were depleting rapidly and even automated teller machines (ATMs) were running out of cash.

Quoting several media sources, Lim related how residents in Manek Urai and Dabong were “forced to go hungry because they are completely cut off” due to most major roads being inaccessible even to rescue vehicles because of strong under currents.

He quoted Bernama that reported how Kelantan Umno liaison chief Mustapa Mohamad had said, “There are many children and senior citizens at these unreachable locations,” in reference to flood victims trapped in 28 locations including “hilltops, schools and mosques” in Kuala Krai. Read the rest of this entry »