Nizar ditches campaign to help flood victims

By Debra Chong (The Malaysian Insider)

TAIPING, April 6 — It was four hours to midnight on the eve of polling day when campaigners were making last ditched attempts to curry votes with the electorate.

Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, the Pas candidate, was scheduled for a last walkabout at the night market in Simpang. He failed to appear.

As it turned out, he had jettisoned the plan for a final “mesra rakyat” to rush to the aid of villagers in Kampung Simpang Holt in Changkat Jering near here.

A three-hour afternoon storm had wrecked 90 out of the 96 houses in the Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat, leaving hundreds of flood victims homeless.

The Malaysian Insider found Nizar half an hour later with his pants legs rolled up to mid-calf on the muddy tarred road leading to the sunken village.

“It’s bad. Very bad. The village is underwater here and further up. Apparently this happens every year,” Nizar replied when asked his take on the situation.

He said he did not know the full extent of the disaster but he would try and set up an emergency camp nearby for the residents in case the rain falls again and raise the water level in the night.

Apparently, he had just finished a talk with fellow Pas member and Titiwangsa MP, Dr Lo’ Lo’ Ghazali, who was also on hand to speak with the affected victims.

An Umno van with its red keris logo was in park at the entrance to the village road. Firemen and rescue workers moved through the throng to help evacuate some other villagers stuck at home.

The storm destroyed 90 out of 96 houses in Kampung Simpang Holt.

Asked if the two parties locked in battle over the by-election tomorrow had temporarily set aside their political differences, Nizar said no, the effort was wholly Pas’s. He left soon after, to perform evening prayers at the surau.

The locals reported that incidents of flash floods breaking out in their village were on the rise in the last three to four years. This evening’s flood was made worse after an abandoned tin-mine on the land belonging Perbadanan Negeri Perak (PNP) had collapsed, clogging the monsoon drain which made it harder to drain the excess water from the ground.

Farmer Razali Osman and his family were fed up with the authorities’ attitude towards their problems and vowed to vote in Nizar, whom they felt showed his caring, despite not being a local.