MP SPEAKS Malaysia had the worst floods in 2015, with 21 deaths and 200,000 losing their homes.
While the rest of Malaysia was busy ushering in 2017, people in Kelantan and Terengganu again lost their homes in massive floods starting last month.
Kelantan was badly hit in the 2015 floods. But the Islamists PAS-led Kelantan state government still seems ill-prepared to deal with floods.
And so does the Umno-led federal government.
But PAS' concern seems to hinge on pushing through with its president Abdul Hadi Awang’s proposed Private Member’s Bill that seeks to increase the power of the Syariah courts to impose any kind of Syariah punishments excluding the death penalty.
The party is organising a massive rally in support of this bill next month, despite concerns that its passage will open the way for PAS to enforce its version of Islamic penal laws in Kelantan, which is against the federal constitution, the country's supreme law that protects the rights of every Malaysian and against the duality of sentencing.
Hadi's hudud bill, as it is called, enhances the power of the syariah courts in penalising offenders. The amendments also make provisions for the chopping of limbs for theft.
No concern for impact
In 2016 many Kelantanese made it clear that they wanted PAS to look into issues that were affecting them, such as the devastation of the floods, rising cost of living, the burden imposed by the Goods & Services Tax (GST) and increasing crime, amongst many other issues.
One year down the line, PAS is still adamant about pursuing its agenda at the expense of the people.
Hadi is also complacent about the fact that hudud will make Malaysia regressive, will hit the panic button in the share market, take a whack at an already crumbling ringgit, increase political instability, frighten off foreign investors and take the economy down, even further.
If the PAS government is serious about the people's welfare, it would come up with a plan to mitigate floods, draw out a contingency plan and do proper reconstruction exercise following the floods.
Also, PAS should protect the rights of the Orang Asli to their land, address unemployment and poverty issues in the state of Kelantan.
Governments are tasked to improve the quality of life of its people and protect rights of citizens. But here we find the party focusing on imposing criminal law in an unequal society, which might be detrimental to the poor.
But if it's all about self-interest, then PAS would pull every trick out of a hat to make the amendments happen, at the expense of the people.
CHARLES SANTIAGO is Klang MP.-Mkini