Najib cuts short US holiday to deal with floods

Datuk Seri Najib Razak will return to Malaysia tomorrow to personally oversee the emergency response to Malaysia's worst flooding in decades that has seen nearly 120,000 people evacuated, after a torrent of criticism about his golf round with US President Barack Obama.

A government spokesman said the prime minister will fly to Kelantan to chair a meeting and receive briefings from the National Security Council, the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, the state government and local emergency responders.

The media statement said Najib will also meet people affected by the flooding and discuss new measures to support those who have been displaced.

“I am deeply concerned by the floods. I feel for the people who have lost their homes, and the families who have lost loved ones.

“While I have been away, I have been in constant contact with the National Security Council and the National Disaster Management and Relief Committee, who have assured me that they are doing everything they can to help those who have been affected.

"But I want to see the situation for myself and be with the people,” Najib was quoted as saying in the statement.

Najib had come under heavy criticism, following news and pictures of him golfing with the US president in Hawaii, at a time the country was hit by severe floods.

"Najib's rounds surprised some of his countrymen, who are calling on him to return home to deal with massive flooding that has displaced tens of thousands,” said the Washington Post in a report today.

The daily noted that Obama had also come under attack for playing golf after the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) militant group.

Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended his boss, and said he would monitor the flood situation while Najib took his "well-deserved" break. – December 26, 2014.