12/27/2014, 00.00
MALAYSIA
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Five people dead and 160,000 forced to flee in Malaysia's record-breaking floods

Seasonal monsoon rains and strong winds devastate the country's north-eastern states. Photographed playing golf with Obama, Malaysia's prime minister rushes home to deal with the emergency.

Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews/Agencies) - More than 160,000 people have been forced from their homes following storms and floods that killed at least five people in north-eastern Malaysia.

In some areas, entire towns have been submerged. Rescue workers are struggling to bring in enough food and supplies for families sleeping in makeshift relief centres.

Because of the emergency, Prime Minister Najib Razak cancelled his holiday in the United States and flew home. He is due to tour the most affected areas shortly.

According to some sources, the prime minister decided for an early return after media showed him playing golf in Hawaii with US President Barack Obama.

The image raised dissatisfaction levels in the population, already high because of inefficient rescue operations.

Higher than average rains and winds caused this year's floods, primarily in the country's north-east, hitting eight states, including Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Perak and Perlis.

Back in 2008, similar weather conditions had forced the evacuation of about 100,000 people.

Prime Minister Najib announced an allocation of RM 500 million (US$ 143 million) to help flood victims in addition to the 50 million initially announced two days ago.

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