Archive for category Kelantan

In Manek Urai, school’s in but mud and water keep classes from starting

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
January 11, 2015

KUALA KRAI, Jan 11 ― Schools here reopened today for the start of the new year, but students in flood-stricken Manek Urai have yet to commence with lessons as cleanups are expected to last another week.

Clad in colourful casual attire and rubber slippers instead of the usual white-and-navy-blue uniforms, the students in SK Manek Urai here spent their time lounging around gawking at army personnel and volunteers, from their still wet classrooms.

This month marks the first anniversary of Yusof Ismail, 49, as the school’s headmaster after transferring from his hometown of Tanah Merah last year.

He admitted that the floods, which submerged two of the schools four storeys, were a major setback.

“It’s my personal challenge this year, to rebuild this school from the ground up. I am starting from square one now,” Yusof, with his black pants tucked inside a pair of yellow rubber boots, told Malay Mail Online during a visit this morning. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to reconsider a RCI into the 2014-2015 floods catastrophe as any investigation which excludes inquiry into the failures of National Security Council in making proper Floods Disaster Relief, Mitigation and Management Preparedness will only perpetuate denial syndrome and cover-up complex

The Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday that Malaysian experts will be engaged by the Government to determine the cause of recent floods and how to mitigate them in future.

The Star report “Experts to be engaged to check floods” quoted Najib as saying yesterday at the official launch of Menara Razak at Universiti Tecknologi Malaysia (UTM): “The issue has been raised in the Cabinet and we have decided we must know the factors that cause the disaster.”
Najib said the Government believed there was sufficient local expertise to conduct the relevant studies.

He said: “We want our experts to guide the Government on what needs to be done both in terms of mitigation as well as sustainable development”.
I find Najib’s announcement most disappointing.

While I welcome an investigation into the worst flood disaster in living memory, the exclusion of the inquiry into the failures of the National Security Council (NSC) in making proper Floods Disaster Relief, Mitigation and Management Preparedness will only perpetuate the government’s denial syndrome and cover-up complex. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cabinet meeting yesterday a great disappointment as it did not address anyone of the five central issues I had highlighted in my email to Najib – in particular on emergency; Special Parliament and RCI on Flood Disaster Management Preparedness

The Cabinet yesterday, the first in three weeks since the worst floods catastrophe in living memory which has claimed at least 23 lives, evacuated a quarter of a million flood victim to relief centres, affected over a million people and caused losses to the tune of billions of ringgit, is a great disappointment and letdown.

It failed to address anyone of the five central issues of the floods catastrophe I had highlighted in my email to the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak on Sunday, in particular on the declaration of a state of emergency to more efficiently and swiftly deal with the post-flood challenges and dangers, the convening of a Special Parliament and a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Floods Disaster Management Preparedness, apart from setting up a Barisan Nasional-Pakatan Rakyat Flood Action Council and the allocation of RM500 million as interest-free loans to the flood victims to start life and business anew, ranging from RM1,000 to RM250,000 loans.

When Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairman of the National Security Council, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was in Kelantan on Tuesday to chair the Kelantan post-flood co-ordination plan committee, he said the damage to public properties amounted to RM932.4 million, but the damage data reported by the various ministries and government agencies in the following cases have already exceeded RM1.6 billion, viz:

(i) Damaged school properties in Kelantan and other states – RM500 million;

(ii) Repair of damaged roads and slopes – RM434 million;

(iii) Repair of damaged railway stations and tracks – RM250 million;

(iv) Ministry of Local Government clean-up operations only in Kelantan: RM200 million;

(v) Ministry of Health repair to hospitals and clinics – RM270 million

(vi) Repair of damaged police stations – RM15 million.

Not all Ministries and government agencies have announced their damage assessments and the above are not the final estimates of the of repair needed to restore to the position pre-flood situation. Read the rest of this entry »

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If Najib can succumb to E.coli, flood victims surely at risk, says Dyana Sofya

Malay Mail Online
January 6, 2015

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak contracted E.coli food poisoning spending just a few days in flooded areas, signalling just how easily an epidemic could break out from the flooding disaster, DAP’s Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud said today.

The political secretary to DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang pointed out that victims of one of the worst floods to hit Malaysia in decades have spent weeks in high-risk conditions — with little sanitation and limited access to clean water and medicine.

“The water may have subsided and those who still have homes may have returned to them, but there is now an urgent need to take steps to prevent an epidemic from breaking out,” Dyana Sofya said in a statement.

“It is almost a certainty that thousands of victims, both adults, children and elderly alike, are currently exposed to contaminated floodwater and have not been eating nutritional food. With their morale and immune system at their worst, they are certainly at risk,” she added. Read the rest of this entry »

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Bracing for another ‘adik tsunami’

Terence Fernandez
The Malaysian Insider
7 January 2015

The end of the school term in November usually marked the beginning of an annual pilgrimage for all the items on the ground floor of our teachers’ quarters unit in Kuala Krai, Kelantan.

It was when we would start moving our furniture, electrical items and other valuables to the top floor of our home. After that laborious work, which usually took two days, we would make a dash for it to my grandmother’s house in Tapah, Perak, to celebrate Christmas.

A quick exit from Kelantan was necessary to avoid road closures and dangerous driving conditions because of the annual floods.

There were years when we decided to tempt Mother Nature and stayed put. Some years we were lucky, as the waters did not enter the house, other years we were not so lucky, like one Christmas Eve when our living room started flooding while my mother was busy preparing Christmas dinner in the kitchen.

In any case, we considered ourselves lucky as the waters usually stopped three steps shy of entering the top floor. There was also Mrs Bala who lived in a bungalow on a hill behind our house which would be our refuge until the waters receded.

Fed up with the annual ritual, my parents bought a house in another part of town – paying a premium as this was a “flood-free” area.

Well, it was flood-free for the last 23 years until last December when the entire ground floor was inundated. The family were in Kuala Lumpur, hence there was no one to salvage our belongings, including a piano and my father’s 1978 classic Toyota Celica. Read the rest of this entry »

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Calls for strict audit that government had spent RM800 million on flood victims as Kelantan entitled to ask where the money had gone as it should get RM500 – RM600 million as the worst flood-stricken state

Today, accompanied by the former Bersih co-chairman and patron of Negara-Ku, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan, DAP MPs Anthony Loke (Seremban), Liew Chin Tong (Kluang), DAP State Assembly members Lee Chin Chen (Ketari- Pahang), Wong May Ing (Pantai Remis) and DAP and social activists in four FWDs, with a container of essential supplies for Manek Urai, I made my third flood victims relief mission to Kelantan.

We left Kuala Lumpur at 5 am, first stop at Bentong for breakfast, arriving in Gua Musang before 10 am, where we were given a briefing by DAP and PAS Gua Musang leaders on the floods devastation in Gua Musang beginning on Winter Solstice (Dongzhi festival) on Dec. 22, 2014.

Gua Musang, which literally means “Cave of the Civet”, is the largest of the 10 districts in Kelantan and Gua Musang town had never experienced serious flooding before.

It therefore took the people in Gua Musang by complete surprise when Gua Musang, together with Kuala Krai (another district which had never suffered serious flooding before) became the two worst flood-stricken areas in the December 2014 floods catastrophe.

When we visited Gua Musang town, the people were busy valiantly trying to clean up their houses, shops and inns – a puny effort compared to the enormous ravages caused by the floods.

It was two weeks since Gua Musang had been stricken by the unprecedented floods catastrophe, with water as high as 10 to 12 ft, submerging the whole town but Gua Musang still looked forlorn and desolate.

From the slow pace of recovery that I saw in Gua Musang, the Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob may be right when he said that Kelantan will need at least six months to fully recover from the devastation of the worst floods that hit the state in the past few weeks.

But six months to recover from the devastation of the floods catastrophe is too long and will impose great problems and grave burdens on the flood victims in Kelantan.

This is why there must be a total change of mindset of the Federal, state and local authorities to ensure that this recovery period is slashed from “at least six months” to two months, and why a declaration of state of emergency to centralize and mobilise all available resources to help the floods victims in Gua Musang and other parts of Kelantan to start life anew after the devastation of the floods is urgent and imperative.

During the worst of the floods catastrophe, an emergency is needed to save lives. In the post-flood scenario, an emergency is needed to restore living and ensure livelihood – to help the flood victims rebuild life and business anew in the shortest possible time. Read the rest of this entry »

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In the land of endless possibilities, priority for flood victims

COMMENTARY BY THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
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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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 »

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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 »

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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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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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Asking for urgent meeting with Najib before Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to present four-point proposal on the floods catastrophe for Cabinet adoption

I am seeking an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, before Wednesday with a four-point proposal for adoption by the Cabinet with regard to the floods catastrophe which had ravaged nine states in the past two weeks.

It would appear that the Cabinet had not met since Dec. 17, as the two  previous Wednedays had fallen on Christmas eve on Dec. 24 and New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31.

Although both these dates are not public holidays in Malaysia, it is the tradition that the Cabinet would not meet on these two dates as most Ministers would be overseas on vacations.

I believe that the Cabinet had also not met on Dec. 24 and 31 last year, as there had been no reports about Cabinet meetings on these two dates, which would be most unusual and extraordinary, as the country’s worst floods in decades had spanned both these dates.

However, I confess I am not privy to information as to whether the Cabinet had met on Dec. 24 and 31, and I am prepared to stand corrected if I am proved wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

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I have abandoned the idea of discussing and persuading the two MCA Ministers to support in Cabinet a declaration of emergency over floods catastrophe as MCA National Vice President has publicly declared opposition to emergency declaration yesterday

I have abandoned the idea of discussing and persuading the two MCA Ministers to support in Cabinet on Wednesday a declaration of emergency over floods catastrophe as the MCA National Vice President, Datuk Hou Kok Chung has publicly declared opposition to an emergency declaration in Kota Bharu yesterday.

Hou claims that there is no need for an emergency, especially as the worst of the floods catastrophe is over.

Hou and the MCA Ministers and leadership are entitled to their views, but it is most disappointing that there are political leaders, including Ministerial-level politicians, who cannot think outside the box, and are tied down to obsolete thinking and attitudes which undermine their effectiveness as leaders capable of helping the people to save lives and minimize losses to property especially in a disaster like the worst floods catastrophe in recent decades which caused the evacuation of a quarter of million people to the various relief centres or easily a total of a million people to include all who had not gone to the relief centres as well as suffering financial or economic losses from the floods

There should not only be a state of emergency for the floods catastrophe in the states affected, not only during the times when the rise of the floods water were fiercest, but equally important, after the waters have receded in order to facilitate the resolution of the many huge post-flood challenges and dangers, viz:

Read the rest of this entry »

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As taps stay dry, Kuala Krai struggles to rebuild after flood

By Zurairi AR
The Malay Mail Online
January 4, 2015

KUALA KRAI, Jan 4 — The sun has risen over Kuala Krai, but the Kelantan town 64 km south of Kota Baru has yet to stir from the worst flood in recent history last week.

The waters have receded but the 20,000 or so people who live there are struggling to pick up their lives without running water to wash away the mud that has invaded their homes and shops.

The main road through the town,usually busy with traffic between Gua Musang and Kota Baru, remains quiet. Most shops are closed and the few that are open are still being cleaned.

Until water supply is restored life appears to have paused for most of the town folk..

“I have no idea when I can even start cleaning up. I really cannot do a single thing until the water supply returns,” Alias a 26 year old told Malay Mail Online. Read the rest of this entry »

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Floods subside, yet hudud nightmare still haunts

By P Ramasamy
Malaysiakini
Jan 3, 2015

ADUN SPEAKS On Monday Dec 29, 2014, the PAS government in Kelantan had wanted to introduce amendments to the Syariah Criminal Code 1993 – or in other words, pave the way for the introduction of hudud law.

Following this, there would be a Private Member’s Bill in Parliament to be passed before the hudud law is enforced by both the federal and state agencies. PAS hopes that its 21 MPs and other Malay Muslim MPs will vote for this bill to become law. All that is required is a simple majority of 112 members’ support in Parliament.

PAS’ proposal to the introduction of the amendments in the Kelantan state assembly has created serious issues within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. DAP has vehemently opposed hudud, and has threatened that its introduction would spell the end of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

PKR, while not wanting to oppose hudud on religious grounds, had maintained that hudud is not part of the common framework of understanding between the three parties within the opposition coalition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Call on Najib to declare state of emergency to mobilise the 150,000-strong armed forces to deal with worsening flood situation in some states and humongous post-flood challenges in others

It is still not too late for the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak to declare a state of emergency in the flood-stricken states.

A state of emergency in the flood-stricken states will make it easier and faster to mobilise all federal, state and local resources to deal firstly, with the worst flood disaster in recent decades (for some states, the flood situation could worsen in coming days); and secondly, the post-flood situation in states where although the worst flood situation are over with the receding of flood waters, new problems are beginning with the humongous and mind-blogging scale and scope of the post-flood challenges and dangers.

The Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob has said that Kelantan will need at least six months to fully recover from the devastation of the worst floods that hit the state in the past few weeks.

Six months to recover from the devastation of the floods catastrophe is too long and will impose great problems and grave burdens on the flood victims in Kelantan.

Whether for Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak or any state for that matter, the period for the full recovery from the devastation of the floods catastrophe should be cut down from “at least six months” to two months, and this is why a state of emergency for the flood-stricken states should declared, to deal firstly with the floods disaster management, mitigation and relief during the floods catastrophe, and secondly, the post-flood challenges and dangers.

In fact, a state of emergency should be a normal part of the Standard Operating Procedure to deal with a major floods disaster. Read the rest of this entry »

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Writing to Najib on three proposals: Defer GST, Double up RM500 million to RM1 billion allocation with interest-free loans to all victims to re-start business and declare state of emergency to deal worsening floods in Pahang and to enable flood victims to start life anew

Yesterday DAP sent multiple flood relief teams to flood-stricken areas in Kelantan and Pahang, comprising:

(i) Three containers of essential supplies to flood victims, two from Penang and one from Johore for Kuala Krai as part of the “Save Kuala Krai Convoy Mission”.

(ii) Some 250 “great Malaysian sons and daughters” from Penang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan and Johor who took part in the multiple flood relief mission of New Year’s Day 2015, comprising:

(a) over 20 FWDs from Penang (flagged off by Penang Chief Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng in Penang on New Year’s Day at 1.30 a.m.) driving 15 hours from Penang to Kuala Krai ferrying over 2,000 cartons of essential supplies from two containers and over 20 FWDs.

(b) Over 20 FWDs of supplies from Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Negri Sembilan to Kuala Krai (this is the third relief mission to Kuala Krai led DAP National Organising Secretary Anthony Loke in five days).

(c) Three containers (one for Kuala Krai, one for Kota Bharu and another for Mentakab) together with 11 FWDs of emergency supplies from Johor DAP, led by 2MPs and 7 SAs. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tweets on “Save Kuala Krai Convoy Mission” (1.1.2015)

1.Visit to Kuala Krai today (1.1.2015), esp desolate town with Kuala Krai MP Dr. Mohd Hatta after ravages of flood catastrophe, unforgettable.

2. Woes grievances unhappiness of people of Kuala Krai (from “horse’s mouth” so to say) over flood catastrophe eloquent/moving – being totally abandoned!

3. Met flood victims – every Malay Chinese Indian in Kuala Krai – from all races who have one common universal grouse: they need help and urgently.

4. Today full mobilisation by DAP States MPs SAs activists for relief of Kuala Krai and other flood-ravaged areas like Mentakab Gua Musang Kota Bharu.

5. Three containers of over 3,000 cartons of essential supplies distributed in Kuala Krai – 2 from Penang 1 from Johor. Also some 60 FWDs of reliefs Read the rest of this entry »

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