LET'S talk politics for a while. While there's considerable interest in the Batu Talam by-election in Pahang where the BN candidate is expected to steamroll his Independent opponent, another kind of politics is taking place down south.
Yes, in the flood state of Johore. I'm talking about the politics of managing a disaster.
With so many statements being made by various Government leaders, promising so much help and support, one fact remains - we never really learned how to manage a disaster.
Who's really in charge of managing the floods? The Prime Minister? The Deputy Prime Minister? The Menteri Besar? The Armed Forces? The Police? The Welfare ministry? The National Disaster Committee? The whole Cabinet? The State EXCO? The MPs? The ADUNs?The volunteers? All of the above?
One needs only to listen to the voices of the makcik and hear the wail of hungry children and infants to realise that the flood victims have burning questions about their welfare. It's not so much as to have to sleep on mengkuang mats and eat nasi kawah that make these makcik and pakcik angry and hapless.
It's not knowing what their future will be! This is what makes the flood victims lose sleep, develop hypertension, feel depressed and hapless. They see their dreams washed away, swept by the strong currents of indifference and lack of urgency and direction in certain quarters.
Johore, which in recent months have been touted as the country's most promising state, has been proven to be so vulnerable. Heavy rain, non-stop rain, overflowing waters - these things are enough to cripple a whole state!
While it is very encouraging to see citizens rallying to offer food, clothings, blankets and money to help alleviate the suffering of the victims, no one has come out with a plan let alone a strategy to address the floods in the long term.
It's heartening to hear that money will be made available to help businessmen pick up the pieces. But can someone spell out the how? We hear statements by Government leaders to reduce red-tape so that aid can be dished out faster. That's all very good and heart-warming.
But spend some time among the victims and you'll hear whispers of cynicism and discontent. Mind you, these victims are grateful that they have hot food and warm clothings. But they speak increasingly loudly about not knowing where the flood waters will take them to the future.
It's time someone in the policy-making body "somewhere up there" take some time to figure out what is the solution to these floods, and how can the citizens rebuilt their lives and present a sunny future for their children.