Archive for January 5th, 2015

In the land of endless possibilities, priority for flood victims

5 January 2015

Apart from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, there are a lot of flood victims who are also down with E. Coli infection. Nothing surprising because this is flood waters we are talking about.

So let’s not be bothered if there are leaders down with an infection or suffer some hardship in relief operations for the worst floods to hit Malaysia in decades. At the very least, it is some discomfort before they get well.

The priority, really, should be on the flood victims. Read the rest of this entry »

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Strange case of Home Minister writing a letter to FBI vouching for the integrity of an alleged gambling kingpin has become “curiouser and curiouser”

The strange case of the Home Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi writing a letter to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) vouching for the integrity of an alleged gambling kingpin has become “curiouser and curiouser”.

In the first place, it is curious and must be the first case of a Home Minister of any country writing a letter to the FBI to vouch for the integrity of a person detained by FBI allegedly for being a gambling kingpin.

Secondly, it is curious that the Home Minister is writing to correct a mistake in the report by the Malaysian Police to the FBI about Paul Pauh. If there was such a “mistake”, why didn’t the Police themselves write to the FBI to correct the mistake.

The third and fourth curious aspects are whether the police agreed that it had made a mistake in its report to FBI about Paul Pauh and whether the police knew and agreed to the Home Minister writing to the FBI on the matter. Read the rest of this entry »


Not just another monsoon: where is the leadership?

by Jules Ong
The Malaysian Insider
5 January 2015

I was a disaster relief volunteer with Mercy Malaysia during its early days. Among the missions I went to were the Afghanistan post-US bombings (2002), Sri Lanka floods (2003), Aceh post-tsunami (2004) and the Sudan civil war (2005).

I used to be on their 48 hour-notice. That means, if there was a disaster, I could be called to pack and leave within 48 hours. I’m no longer on that list. Now, I do my own thing. I am a freelance journalist and filmmaker, and do my bit with friends and families where help is needed.

Last week, upon reading reports of the floods in Kelantan, I decided to call a few friends. From the little information coming in, I gathered that supplies were going in, but distribution was and still is the problem. They could not reach kampungs that were cut off from main roads, many of which were submerged, cut off by broken bridges or landslides. Read the rest of this entry »


Sluggish response to catastrophic floods raises many questions

COMMENT by Azril Annuar
The Malaysian Insider
5 January 2015

Total and utter devastation – this, in essence, describes the situation in the East Coast, which bore the brunt of the worst flooding to hit the country in decades. An estimated 150,000 people have been affected, and hundreds of homes lost. Entire villages have been practically wiped out in Kuala Krai, Manek Urai and Dabong, among the worst-hit areas in Kelantan.

Roads and bridges have been destroyed and communications lines cut. Wireless telecommunication has been reduced to the most basic levels. Electricity was cut off for days and treated water supply is still not back.

The only time I had seen a disaster of this scale was during the earthquake in Padang, Indonesia, about five years ago. For my editor, Terence Fernandez, the scenes of houses piled up on top of one another is comparable with the scenario in Aceh following the tsunami of 2004.

A scene closer to home with similar impact but on a smaller scale would be the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide that took several lives during Hari Raya Haji back in 2009.

However, the difference between all these disaster areas and the chaos we have witnessed in Kuala Krai and Manek Urai is quite simple: The aftermath of the other disasters was managed expeditiously. Read the rest of this entry »


Email to Najib asking for meeting before Wednesday’s Cabinet on five important measures to deal with worst floods in recent decades, including the formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council

Before 9 pm last night, I sent an email to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak asking for a meeting before Wednesday’s Cabinet on five important measures to deal with the worst floods in recent decades, including the formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council.

The floods catastrophe in the past fortnight – which the Prime Minister only realized was a major catastrophe and that Gua Musang and Kuala Krai were among the two worst-hit areas on the fourth day of his return from Hawaii – is a major national disaster and saw the best quality of all Malaysians.

This was the ability of Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region, politics, gender or age to unite and come to the aid of the flood victims – with a quarter of a million people evacuated to the relief centres and easily a million of the total number of people affected by the floods catastrophe.

The costs of the floods catastrophe has been estimated at RM1 billion, and still counting – with the Meteorological Department warning that although the worst of the second wave of the floods catastrophe seemed to be over, a third wave of the monsoon surge is expected to begin on Jan 7 or 8, with possible continuous heavy rainfall up to three days over certain states, especially in Johor, Sabah and Sarawak.

The formation of a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Floods Catastrophe Joint Action Council will formalize what is already happening on the ground in the various flood-stricken states with regard to the flood relief efforts being rendered by Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat parties and members to the flood victims, regardless of race, religion or state in the past fortnight. Read the rest of this entry »

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Worst floods in Kelantan, confirms NSC

By Aizyl Azlee
Malay Mail Online
January 5, 2015

KOTA BARU, Jan 5 — The National Security Council (NSC) confirmed the massive flood that hit Kelantan was the worst in the history of the state.

Its secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said water levels of the recent floods superseded the floods of 1967.

According to the council’s report, the water level of Sungai Kelantan at Tambatan DiRaja, which has a danger level of 25 metres, reached 34.17 metres last month compared to 29.70 metres in 2004 and 33.61 metres in 1967.

The levels at Tangga Krai, which has a danger level of 5 metres, reached 7.03 metres compared to 6.70 metres in 2004 and 6.22 metres in 1967.

Thajudeen said the council identified two main reasons for the unprecedented magnitude. Read the rest of this entry »

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Despite devastation, defiant Kg Baru Guchil villagers stay put

by Zurairi AR
Malay Mail Online
January 4, 2015

KUALA KRAI, Jan 4 — In Kg Baru Guchil here, almost every villager we met talked about their “height” — in reference to how high the recent flood waters rose in their homes.

For Kamarulzaman, his “height” was the roof. During the floods last week, the whole of his two-storey brick house was completely submerged leaving his refrigerator stuck on his ceiling support beams once the waters receded.

“I completed this house six months ago … of course I will return here,” the unemployed 55-year-old man said when asked whether his family of six would abandon the house that was covered completely in thick brown mud inside.

Together with his wife, who was wearing a towel as a makeshift tudung and soiled cotton gloves, he was raking water-soaked debris off the stairs when visited by Malay Mail Online yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putrajaya must revise budget in light of oil slump, says economist

by Anisah Shukry
The Malaysian Insider
3 January 2015

As Putrajaya responds to falling global oil prices by prioritising domestic spending and investments, a leading economist has warned that the national budget for 2015 was unsustainable if it is not revised to account for the price drop in the commodity, of which Malaysia is a net exporter.

Tan Sri Dr Kamal Salih, an adjunct professor of Economics and Development Studies at Universiti Malaya, said no amount of tax increase could compensate for Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) lower revenue contributions to Putrajaya.

“Of course, the government has to revise the budget. The assumption of the oil price was quite high and now it must be reduced to a realistic level, especially as the price may go down for a long time,” he said.

“The current budget is not sustainable now.” Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s like a war zone, Penang volunteers say of flood-hit Kelantan

by Himanshu Bhatt
The Malaysian Insider
4 January 2015

Scenes of devastation in flood-ravaged Kelantan have left Penangites who travelled there with aid convoys in shock and disbelief at the scale of the disaster.

Likening what they saw to a war zone, the volunteers said Malaysians needed to do more to help their fellow citizens rebuild their lives.

State executive councillor Danny Law Heng Kiang said the aftermath of the floods were worse than that of the tsunami, which hit Kedah and Penang 10 years ago in December 2004.

“I consider the effects of these floods on our country to be worse than that of the tsunami,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

“Following the tsunami, which only hit the shoreline, clearing and rebuilding began within three days,” he said.

“But two weeks after these floods started, it is a still a living nightmare for hundreds of thousands of people,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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