The real reason for the Kelantan floods


Both Putrajaya and Kota Bharu are guilty of decades of neglect and under-investment.

Mariam Mokhtar

The reason for the flooding in Kelantan is not just the extensive logging, nor is it God’s wrath or climate change or PAS or Umno Baru. The real reason for the disastrous floods in Kelantan is decades of neglect and under-investment by the government – both state and federal. It is also the people’s lack of will to force Putrajaya to provide the badly needed national funds to build flood defences and develop the state.

The problem in Malaysia is that we allow men and women to play politics with our lives. We are held back by weak politicians on both sides of the political divide. Once we elect a man to office, we think that is the end of our problems. It is not. Politicians, like children, need to be constantly reminded of their responsibilities. Politicians are in office to serve the needs of the people.

Our MPs have been elected to work, to serve us, to make our lives better; but if they cannot make things happen because they are ineffective or have a secret agenda of their own, why leave it at that? What happened to the will of the people? The rakyat’s apathy leads others to believe that Malaysians are complacent and would rather allow others to do their thinking for them.

We are also hampered by many wannabes in Malaysian society. There are politicians who aspire to be religious preachers, and there are preachers who aspire to be politicians. These mere mortals claim that they receive the cables from God and that the people of Kelantan are receiving divine punishment for their sins.

The wannabes include deputy ministers who claim to be geography experts, and geography professors who play the mute. We could do with the advice of the men who studied human and physical geography to help us understand the causes of flooding and propose remedial measures, but sadly, they have chosen to remain silent.

Selfish politicians have to be shamed to return from vacation and help with the relief effort, but the most despicable are the unscrupulous politicians who use the opportunity to have their photos taken, cradling babies or the sick.

Equally obnoxious is the political party which prints images of its leaders on the emergency relief supplies. Remember what happened when images of Najib Abdul Razak appeared on the cans of 100-Plus in the run-up to GE13? It is alleged that the company’s shares plummeted and the cans had to be destroyed.

In the centre of this maelstrom, it is the rakyat who suffer. Our politicians are more callous than caring.

The PM has used the extreme floods to attack the Kelantan politicians. He made a barbed comment about the flooding in Kelantan being due to uncontrolled logging. The same could be true of his home state of Pahang and other states, like Sarawak and Perak.

What will it take for Najib to release the much needed funds to bring development to Kelantan? Does he want the Kelantan people to grovel for help? Will he only release the funds if Umno Baru captures Kelantan? The Kelantan people have more dignity than to be blackmailed by cheap politicians.