What Malaysian Youths Think About The Recent Flood Disaster

The recent flood in Malaysia significantly impacted the lives of thousands. Find out what our youths think about the recent event and what they hope for the future.

Malaysia is well-known for being able to hold unity and a sense of camaraderie as a potpourri of ethnicities. In the waning fortnight of 2022, Malaysians have proved their intranational strength to be resilient once again through a well-funded effort to help victims struck by the flood disaster in December 2021.

One of the communities involved includes the Sikhs, notably from the Gurdwara Sahib in Petaling Jaya, who’ve distributed a significant amount of food, necessities, and other rescue efforts to the flood victims. Seeing the selfless community, thousands of people were then seen pouring into the gurdwara to offer assistance.

That’s not all, other rescue efforts organised by the people were also seen, many of which were mobilised via Twitter. MUDA (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance), a political party founded by an immensely popular youth politician, Syed Saddiq, also stood out in spearheading the rescue missions across states. 

The flooding, caused by continuous heavy rain, arrived at an unprecedentedly large magnitude unforeseen by many Malaysians. Notoriously known as the Shah Alam floods, it displaced over 70,000 civilians and caused an estimated RM20 billion in property loss. Areas such as Selangor (Klang, Taman Sri Muda), Negeri Sembilan (Seremban), Kelantan, and various other places faced heavy losses. Being in the midst of the pandemic, flood efforts were especially difficult due to the containment procedures. 

In retrospect, the Malaysian government also faced heavy criticism due to an apparent show of apathy towards the flood. Malaysians claimed there was no warning given by the authorities and rescue efforts were delayed, not to mention the refusal of the Dewan Rakyat speaker to allow discussion about the flood in parliament. This resulted in precious time wasted to help the victims.

Image: Screenshot taken from Gurdwara Sahib Petaling Jaya's Twitter account

Through the chaos, MUDA members, particularly figurehead and president, Syed Saddiq, have been seen doing various tasks to aid flood victims. Most famously, a fundraiser aimed to reach a million ringgit for the flood victims had hit twice the target as of 28 December 2021. MUDA members are also known to have escorted flood victims with vehicles to safe zones, cleaned up retreating areas, and donated monetarily and with collected goods.

For opinions, I interviewed several youths on their opinions regarding the flood efforts and how this scenario shaped the perspective of their future, intending to bring light to opinions of the government and opinions of the future. 

From my findings, none were optimistic about the Malaysian government’s attitude towards the flood and the consensus shows disappointment in the handling of the issue. A flood victim exclaimed to me “No, we didn’t hear any one of the 16 alarms that were mentioned in the news.”

Despite dissatisfaction, the youths I spoke to agreed that the outrage against the government was excessive due to exaggerations online. Taylor’s Lakeside Rotaract Club president, Jonathan Jeremiah, took note that the government was still capable of enforcing some procedures to prevent the virus. “On the bright side, they’ve contributed in small amounts throughout though there’s definitely a need to improve more in time to come.”

In stark contrast to their governing counterparts, MUDA has been praised widely for their initiative to help the victims. They’ve been known to be strategic with their efforts and gave necessary help to the affected zones on time, likened to charitable organisations such as Tzu Chi (慈济). From my interviews, many have faith in MUDA for the upcoming election, citing the party’s efforts sparked faith amongst the rakyat for young leaders. “MUDA has been transparent in all their involvement. They’ve also spread out and allowed anyone to lend a hand in the flood. This shows trust and builds a sense of hope in MUDA as leaders of tomorrow,” Jonathan added.

Personally, I perceive that this flood is living proof that Malaysians are sympathetic to their fellow countrymen and will go out of their way, reaching out through numerous sources to help those in need. Malaysian youths should now discover the stimulus to grow an interest in the political scheme of Malaysia, which has disillusioned many due to un-democratic changes.

As a matter of fact, since the youth are able to vote, a surge in support for a younger batch of politicians will come. Through the floods, the party has shown itself to be a role model not only for the average Malaysian youth but also gave faith to future young politicians. Malaysians may even meet a change to a younger parliament in future. According to Ali Moosajee, a Taylorian and an international student who was also involved in collecting power banks for flood victims, a new Malaysia can be made under the youth leaders if we stand with them. “MUDA could very well be in the government if Malaysians stand by them, particularly the youth who can now vote.”

Image: A screenshot of Syed Saddiq presenting the donation collected for MUDA on IG Live.

Conclusively, I believe that this flood is a solid show of mindset that Malaysia is ready for new and fresh national leaders to champion the people. Malaysians ultimately need leaders who can ensure their safety and propel them forward economically. Though the flood caused tragic life and property losses, people must look beyond this issue and recognise a turning point in Malaysia for the years to come.

Jack Chuah Jia Cheng is currently pursuing a Foundation in Arts at Taylor's College. He also does reels and content for Taylors, is a member of Byictu, Taylors Toastmasters, and TLMUN.

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