When Floods Strike, Indigenous Populations Are Often Forgotten

Rain, the monsoon, then nature brews its wrath, with the vicious series of landslides and floods. It’s that time of the year, when communities are made vulnerable by environmental neglect and the fury of mother nature.

The challenges, as governments, military, emergency workers, and NGOs work hand-in-hand with society to save villages, towns, industrial areas and cities. Yet very little is mentioned on mainstream media regarding indigenous populations. Barely two or so articles about Malaysia’s Orang Asli communities in the face of a raging flood, and nothing at all from Thailand’s junta-fearing press about the Mani tribes in flood-wrecked south Thailand. I grow weary of continued societal ignorance, and how indigenous communities are often neglected in the equation of flood relief.

Ignorance Is Bliss When It Comes To Floods In Malaysia

‎Floods, for days in northern Malaysia, with the Kelantan state as the hardest hit by the downpour. Its not difficult to identify the problems affecting the cluster north and northeast states, especially when state and federal governments have placed yearly budgets for so-called flood prevention projects. Not as if we are unaware of the situation, particularly when Malaysia has a small population of 30 million and information is easily accessible.

Despite it all, society and politicians allow the floods to tear into homes, drowning land under the weight of the downpour, the displacement of communities and deaths.

How is it that a country with incredible natural resources and wealth is unable to reduce the destruction caused by floods? We are educated, or at least think we are, and Malaysia is what many international organisations have classified as a “developed nation” with an air of intellectual sophistication.

As the year approaches to an end, tens of thousands in Malaysia have been and are still displaced due to the floods. Urban planning and rural development has failed to protect, nurture society and we have yet to show any maturity when it comes to natural disasters and environmental conservation.

Anyway, now we know, at least for some who claim they didn’t. What’s our next course of action?


Homelessness: The State Of Neglect

Homelessness, poverty, marginalization. The ingredients of mainstream classification for the rejects, the vagabonds. Thailand’s lack of political will, the growing apathy and the widening of caste prevent a societal solution, or at least to reduce the numbers. Often I am told by Thais, poverty is part of the urban cultural obsession, after all how can the social elites do away from their greatest source of manpower?

NGOs, Malaysia MPs rally for return of Thai democracy

Joint Statement:
Dictator is NOT welcome!
Democracy NOW for Thailand!

1 Dec 2014

We, the undersigned organisations, condemn the Najib-led Malaysian Government for receiving the official visit of military coup leader from Thailand, Prayuth Chan-ocha. The reception for Prayuth is an act that recognises and lends legitimacy to the illegal government in Thailand which grabbed power through a military coup and suppression of democracy since May this year.

Prayuth Chan-ocha came into power last May, when he staged a military coup against a democratically elected government. Martial law was declared, activists and dissidents were arrested and harassed by coup apparatus, an undemocratic interim constitution was introduced, and Prayuth appointed himself as the Prime Minister of Thailand without popular approval through democratic elections. Freedom of expression has been suppressed by the repressive National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) led by Prayuth.

The current coup has nothing to do with enhancing democracy and social justice in Thailand. Instead it only tightened the grip of dictatorial rule and has attempt to crush any democratic institution that exists. The coup is set to protect the interests of a section of the Thai ruling class who want to reduce the democratic space in order to consolidate their power. The military junta in Thailand has no interest in bringing about free and fair elections to solve the political crisis, and certainly will not protect freedom of expression which it sees as a threat to its rule.

Thai military has been notorious for ruthless crackdowns on democratic movements. The current military-installed government led by Prayuth is desperately seeking recognition and support from the international community to justify its ruthless dictatorship in Thailand. Accepting and receiving the visit of Prayuth means that the government of Malaysia is blindly expressing support for a military dictatorship and rubbing salt into the wounds of the people and democracy in Thailand.

We call upon the Malaysian government to stop recognizing the administration of Prayuth before the following condition is fulfilled:
– Immediate repeal of martial law in Thailand;
– Stop the crackdown and arrest of political dissidents in Thailand and free all the political prisoners;
– Restoration of the election process to let the people of Thailand choose their future government democratically;

Malaysia will be holding the chairmanship of ASEAN next year, and there is a need for the government of Malaysia to take the lead to get other governments of ASEAN together to condemn and assert pressure to bring back democracy in Thailand.

We also extend our solidarity with the pro-democracy movement in Thailand to fight against the military dictatorship and for the restoration of democracy in Thailand.

Signed by:
1. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
2. Malaysia Support Group for Democracy in Thailand
3. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
4. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
5. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
6. Committee for Asian Women (CAW)
7. Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA)
9. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
10. Selangor and KL Hokkien Association Youth Section
11. Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL (PRIHATIN)
12. Jihad for Justice
13. National Interlok Action Team (NIAT)
14. School of Acting Justly, Loving Tenderly, Treading Humbly (SALT)
15. Pax Romana ICMICA
16. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters- HRDP in Burma
17. Free Trade Union, Sri Lanka
18.Globalisation Monitor, Hong Kong

Members of Parliament:
1. Chua Tian Chang, MP Batu
2. Charles Santiago, MP Klang
3. Jeyakumar Devaraj, MP Sungai Siput
4. Chang Lih Kang, ADUN Teja