Flood victims seethe at govt’s incompetent handling of floods

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Incapable, incompetent, ineffective, and total failure are some of the words Shah Alam residents have used to describe the official handling of the recent flooding across the state.

Bloomberg

Frustrated residents lambasted ministers and agencies alike, saying their delayed response led to some families losing loved ones and their prized possessions too.

A resident from Sri Muda, who only wanted to be known as Sara, said the failure of the government to handle such a critical situation showed the incapability of so-called politicians, for whom he voted.

“During a crisis, instead of rushing to the scene to help the people, we have ministers holding ceremonies for the flood victims.

“Ministers and politicians were doing their publicity stunts, while only a few were on the ground from day one.

“The agencies also were late. I was stuck on my roof for an entire two days before rescue came to me. That was how late they were,” the 32-year-old said.

At least 48 people have died due to the flooding across the peninsula, while five people are still missing.

Most of the fatalities were in Selangor, where 25 people have been killed. Twenty people have died in Pahang and three more in Kelantan.

Meanwhile, Sara singled out Kota Kemuning assemblyman Ganabatirau Veraman and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari for praise, saying they worked tirelessly to help the flood victims.

He also credited Muda for swiftly coming to aid flood victims.

“Ganabatirau and Amirudin were seen working round the clock actually helping but some government ministers came with a bunch of people, only for them to do a gimmick, then later address the press as if they did a lot of work.

“I have to admit, Muda was all around. They were on the ground helping. That shows their true spirit to help, even if they are not part of the government,” Sara said.

Muda announced it had collected some RM1 million in donations within 100 hours.

Sara also added that, instead of the politicians and government agencies, it was fellow Malaysians who were offering a helping hand.

He said Malaysians of all races were working as a family with a single purpose to help.

Kalaichelvan, another resident from Kota Kemuning, said he had grown fed up with politics and politicians.

He said the death toll would have been far lower if the government were efficient and competent.

“Government or opposition should not be taken into consideration when you are coming down to help. We all are humans above all else and we deserve basic rights, which includes safety.

“That was compromised here and we were left stranded for hours on our own.

“We need leaders who are responsible, who can assume leadership at such times and not blame others. Keep politics aside and they should come to people’s aid,” the 38-year-old said.

He said failures of the government and political leaders should teach Malaysians a lesson in choosing their next administration.

“The flood has shown the people of Malaysia who are their real leaders. They have witnessed and they will not forget those faces who genuinely helped and who just posed for photos.

“This will translate to votes in the next elections and trust me, the people here really know who extended help,” he said.

Kalaichelvan said although some are coming after the flood to help, it will not have much impact.

“The most important time was during the flood. There is no point for politicians to show face after flood and claim as if they are helping. Their antics won’t work,” he said.

Public anger won’t last long

Universiti Malaya academic Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the anger and frustration felt by flood victims may not translate to protest votes as Malaysians are more likely to forget the government’s ineffectiveness.

He said the public will later rationalise the government’s response and accept that it did its best.

On social media, the government fielded heavy criticism for its failure to coordinate the evacuation of stranded residents, some of whom sat on rooftops for days.

Later, ministers were accused of showboating by social media users, who said the politicians only came to flood-stricken areas for photo opportunities.

However, Awang Azman said such actions will quickly be forgotten.

“Our culture is like that. We get angry today, but the next day we will forgive them for what they did. This temper will not last long.

“Eventually it will die down and people will go back to support the party that had done a lousy job in keeping the public safe.

“We Malaysians do not bear a grudge. We tend to forgive,” he said.

However, his contemporary from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Mazlan Ali, disagreed.

He said that the sentiments of people in the Klang Valley are different from that of people on the east coast, who would adopt a “never mind” approach towards the government.

“The people in Klang Valley are what we call a segment of people who participate in national issues. These people will remember this issue and they will assess their support come election.”

“This will impact the political parties involved, be it federal or state level, thus political parties need to be more sincere and transparent when helping.

“People on the east coast will accept this as fate and will not see this as an issue or as government weakness,” he said.

Yesterday, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rina Mohd Harun became a target of criticism when a video of her posing with a high-powered pressure hose at a flood-relief centre went viral.

Rina said she was at SK Salak in Salak Tinggi to help with the clean-up.

Malaysians took to social media to demand politicians stop pretending to help flood victims, accusing them of using the disaster to boost their online following. – TMI