Flood devastation: Clueless leaders must take responsibility and resign

In any other responsible democracy, leaders who fail to take responsibility would have resigned in disgrace by now.

The media have been updating us with breaking news on the unprecedented flood that has hit so many states in the country with Selangor and Kuala Lumpur being the worst hit.

From the various news portals, we get a good assessment of the situation on the ground.

The floods are reminiscent of the 1971 incident, which caused massive damage and suffering.

In one case, stranded senior citizens with medical conditions were only rescued from rising waters in their house in Taman Sri Muda in Shah Alam only 24-hours after the alarm was raised.

The magnitude of the flood crisis can be gauged from the fact that the Tenaga Nasional Bhd had to suspend 433 substations in flood hit areas. Water supply to homes and factories was disrupted in 472 areas in Selangor. In Hulu Langat, entire homes were submerged in raging waters.

The incessant rain in recent days has brought untold misery to people who were not alerted. The state of our national preparedness left much to be desired.

We now learn from the authorities after the deluge that the flood was caused by Tropical Depression 29. We are now told that what Malaysia witnessed is one’s month’s rainfall in one day.

But what is shocking is that even amid this “once in a century event”, a cabinet minister could organise a launch ceremony complete with digital backdrops to announce a post-flood volunteer squad that would be mobilised nationwide – a public relations stint.

This is a national disaster. The country could be heading for more severe flooding and disruption of essential services in the future, with even more loss of lives, crops, livestock and property.

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How can we accept leaders who are clueless and incapable of demonstrating empathy in the face of an unprepared crisis?

Once again, we see how it is the ordinary people themselves who roll up their sleeves and plunge into raging waters to save lives and property. Once again, we see how ordinary people again have to stretch out their hands to seek aid to be brought to the flood victims.

Where is our environment minister? Where are all the other cabinet members? Who is going to take the rap for this national unpreparedness while the world was watching the weather crisis looming?

In any other responsible democracy, leaders who fail to take responsibility would have resigned in disgrace by now.

But here we are expected to rejoice in the PM’s announcement that families whose homes were devastated by the floods would each receive RM1,000.

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Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
21 Dec 2021 7.14am

Abstract of an article I wrote in 2015 on health systems and climate change.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150369/

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
21 Dec 2021 7.10am

The federal government needs to set up a council of local experts, to both study and predict the impact of climate change on Malaysia, and formulate both short term and long term plans to mitigate its effects. Continued denial and complacency are ill-advised – nature is unforgiving. (Is it time also to end completely “land reclamation” projects, since sea level rise (SLR) will accompany climate change?)