Haresh Says, as published in Malay Mail today.
IT is the wrath of the Man upstairs, so they say.
The massive floods that hit most areas in the east coast is a real-life nightmare as the number of victims exceeds 200,000.
The aftermath is unimaginable — an ugly sight to behold on the 10th anniversary of the deadly tsunami disaster.
Images of flattened homes and toppled vehicles greet villagers as some returned home on Monday.
Others are forced to remain at relief centres, unsure what their future holds once the waters subside.
Perhaps watching innocent young children have fun in the water could put a smile on the faces of the elderly.
Fuel and clean water are sacred, not all automated teller machines are in working order and they are running out of cash. The kind-hearted, who have rallied to help those in need, can only do so much given the current circumstances.
And to quote a leader who was elected to represent the people in Pasir Mas: “Bencana banjir ingatkan umat Islam agar kembali kepada Allah dan jauhi murkaNya. Ia wajarkan kerajaan Kelantan terus istiqamah laksana syariat Hudud.”
When translated, the MP Nik Mohamad Abduh had on his Facebook page said: “The flood is a reminder to all Muslims to return to Allah’s ways and stay away from His wrath. It necessitates the perseverance of the Kelantan government to implement hudud laws.”
Nik Mohamad is the son of PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat. Perhaps his humble father had failed to teach him the economics, landscape, history and environmental issues that has haunted Kelantan for decades. You don’t need hudud laws to understand such subjects.
New Straits Times (NST) had, in its article headlined Kelantan to stamp out illegal logging, on Nov 9, 1990, quoted then deputy menteri besar Rozali Isohak as saying the state government declared war on illegal logging which cost the government millions of ringgit in revenue losses.
Rozali had, in the same article, said the activities had been going on for a long time and reached a serious stage.
1990 was the year Iraq invaded Kuwait, girl group Wilson Phillips’ Hold On was No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles and West Germany defeated Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup football final in Rome, Italy.
Ironically, nothing has changed.
Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob was quoted in an NST report (pic below) headlined Kelantan sets up special taskforce to curb illegal logging, published on Jan 13 this year, as saying: “We will form a special team under the state government to combat such (illegal logging) activities.”
In the same article, Ahmad had hoped the federal government would approve allocation for flood mitigation projects in Sungai Golok and Sungai Kelantan to help reduce flood risks faced by the state, every year.
And yes, 2014 is the same year Germany edged Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup final as pop star Taylor Swift dominates Billboard through her song Blank Space.
The song remains the same.
It is obvious illegal logging and environmental issues continue to hog the state, which is described as the poorest in the nation. It is clear such woes have contributed to rising waters. And floods have hit the east coast annually, a fact acknowledged by Ahmad and Co.
The federal government is also well aware of the situation there.
The monsoon season makes it impossible for fishermen to head out to sea. Traders relying on fishery products are unable to replenish their stocks, even more so when floods hit the east coast states. Now they have to worry about their destroyed homes.
The ripple effect is huge. It effects everyone.
Without doubt the unusually heavy rainfall played a part. But one cannot blame Mother Nature for crying too much.
But none of the supposedly learned leaders who boast good governance and having the people at heart have addressed these issues. If so, what efforts have been taken:
● by the state and federal governments to address environmental issues and illegal logging besides setting up task forces?
● to relocate villagers living in flood-prone areas?
● to introduce plans that will ensure the rivers especially in Kelantan do not overflow easily, and that there is a contingency plan when the ‘bah’ (Malay for floods) occur?
What happened to the findings of the 1990 task force? It is safe to say they have failed and thus the nagging issue continues today?
But the likes of Nik Mohamed blame it on the lack of faith and see this as an opportunity to introduce the implementation of Islamic law. How convenient, as they hide behind the name of religion.
The only person who made any sense of this situation is Sultan Muhammad V.
The Kelantan ruler had, at the investiture ceremony in conjunction with his 45th birthday celebration on Nov 11, said unethical logging and mining activities could have a serious adverse impact on water quality and the people’s quality of life.
On Dec 28, Sultan Muhammad hit the nail on the head by saying: “Let us extend a hand of friendship with the environment and let us be aware that all disaster problems that have occurred are the result of our own doings.
“May Allah forgive us all and turn this plight into a much better situation.”
P/s: Looking forward to sunny days and happy faces in 2015. Happy New Year folks!
HARESH is executive editor of Malay Mail. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @HareshDeol