The deluge of disaster politicians

It is the ordinary Malaysians who have shown that they do not need publicity in order to help those affected by the recent floods.

Abdar Rahman Koya, Malaysia Now

Politicians from both sides of the divide have come under attack for their conduct as they stop at nothing to fill their social media pages with images of them getting their feet wet while Malaysia’s divisive politics refuse to be washed away by the worst floods since the 2014 deluge.

Pictures and videos – some doctored, others cut and moulded to suit the intended message – are just some of the online material posted on social media by political cybertroopers and consumed by a public with humour, sarcasm and anger amid the disaster that has so far killed more than 30 people.

It could be a clip of the Selangor menteri besar “rescuing a baby” from the first floor of a house as a strategically placed camera records the “heroic” deed, or an image of Kuala Langat MP Xavier Jayakumar’s face tastelessly adorning boxes of donations.

It could also be Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming going around in a boat, stopping to grab his lunch while covered in mud – something one commentator described as a show of politicians’ “narcissism” in dealing with the floods.

Or it could be another MP who posed for a shot at a scenic ski resort in Iran, unaware that he was at the wrong place at the wrong time, not unlike Najib Razak’s 2014 Hawaiian golfing gaffe at the peak of the great floods that displaced 200,000 people.

The explanation of Amanah’s Hulu Langat MP Hasanuddin Yunus was not too far off from Najib’s excuse either – that of “golfing diplomacy” with Barack Obama, all for “national interest”.

National interest, after all, is the same excuse Najib gave during his corruption trial, an argument that the appeals court judges took and threw back at him as a “national embarrassment”.

In Hasanuddin’s case, he claimed he was away on a mission which took him on a three-nation trip to Turkey, Pakistan and Iran, meeting people in high places to discuss charity and housing projects for refugees.

But he has shown that he is not only a humanitarian on a mission to save the world. A few days later, his trip was also for “national interest” – the promotion of Malaysian palm oil to Iranian leaders!

While all this was going on, the top leaders and chiefs of parties were busy playing the blame game. Whether they ruled Selangor or Putrajaya, their public spats and arguments only showed them as clueless about their roles and responsibilities as the ordinary Malaysian.