JOHOR BAHRU: Former Johor chief minister Khaled Nordin on Wednesday (Dec 18) hit out at incumbent Dr Sahruddin Jamal for visiting Egypt amid severe flooding in the southern state.
In a hard-hitting Facebook post, Mr Khaled said that given the severe flooding, the state government and local leaders are very much needed on the ground to help out as much as possible.
“They must continue to oversee and ensure that all aspects of safety and aid missions progress smoothly – not just leave the issue to state government staff or volunteers, or by only visiting the relief/evacuation centres once," said Mr Khaled.
“Unfortunately, while the situation in Johor is still ongoing, chief minister Sahruddin Jamal chose to visit Egypt. The reason given is that the visit had been planned in advance. Such reasons cannot be accepted.”
He said that any overseas visit can be rescheduled if there are more pressing domestic matters.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 5,300 people had been displaced by the floods.
Johor local government, urban wellbeing and environment committee chairman Tan Chen Choon said all the evacuees were taking shelter at 65 relief centres in seven districts, including Kluang, Kota Tinggi, Mersing, Kulai, Pontian, Batu Pahat and Segamat.
The former chief minister, who is with Barisan Nasional (BN), noted that Dr Sahruddin’s trip to Egypt was to visit Malaysian students there.
“Surely they will still be in Egypt for such a visit after the Johor flood disaster subsides? The flood victims are currently grappling with uncertainty and various difficulties," he said.
“This is the time for the chief minister to showcase his abilities to prioritise a particular issue."
Mr Khaled added: “I hope that the chief minister and the other state government officials will be able to give serious attention to the current urgent matters. Let us all pray for the safety of the affected families and victims.”
Dr Sahruddin was sworn in as Johor’s 17th chief minister on Apr 14. He was the state’s health, environment and agriculture committee chairman before being appointed chief minister after the resignation of Mr Osman Sapian earlier in the month.
Mr Osman was the shortest-serving chief minister of Johor, being in office for just 11 months after Pakatan Harapan gave him the coveted post following the coalition ousting BN in the state in 2018's general election.
Mr Khaled served as Johor’s chief minister from May 2013 to May 2018.