The catastrophic flood in Penang has left thousands broken as their livelihood was swept away. Heartwarmingly, many Malaysians began donation drives to help flood victims rebuild their homes, but a certain politician seized this opportunity to gain political mileage.
The person in question is Padang Besar UMNO MP, Zahidi Zainul Abidin.
According to Free Malaysia Today, Zahidi referred to the devastating flood that happened in Penang over the weekend as a form of karmic retribution. He said,
“We must remember that the floods happened due to hill-cutting and poor development management in Penang. Do not forget.
“Sometimes, when we do bad things, like insulting religions, causing a clash between religions and organising festivals that are not in accordance with other people’s religion and inciting anger, there would of course be karmic retribution and the people will suffer.”
Although he didn’t specifically pinpoint which festival he was referring to, one would immediately think of the recent Oktoberfest ban as the issue created quite a buzz in our country not so long ago.
The festival, which originates from Germany, was strongly opposed by PAS as some worried that it may promote promiscuity and driving under the influence of alcohol. It was later officially axed by DBKL after the police had raised some security concerns.
However, the annual beer festival carried on as usual in Penang, sans alcohol.
Needless to say, Zahidi’s statement of blaming the festival for the flood has stirred up quite a commotion. Moreover, a minister has actually clarified that the unusual flood was partly caused by the abnormal weather and a broken dam.
“Yes it is true that that the flood problem is prevalent in the East Coast, and our preparations are more focused for the East Coast.
“However in Penang, we were told that things were truly unexpected, and in the briefing given to me yesterday, there was a case of broken dam which caused water from outside of Penang to also enter into Penang,” Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister, Tan Sri Noh Omar said.
Besides, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has also explained that the state’s rainfall recorded in less than a day was equivalent of one-and-a-half months’ of rain. Meanwhile, the high tide made it almost impossible for the rain to flow into the sea.
Netizens were outraged over the insensitive statement and criticised him for politicising the natural disaster. “Here we are trying to piece our lives back together, and he’s talking nonsense over there,” a netizen commented.
This disastrous flood has claimed seven lives to date and we hope the victims will receive all the aid they need to rebuild their lives.
Also read: Penang Surau That Sheltered Non-Muslims Also Took in Dogs Affected by Floods