KUALA LUMPUR: DAP national publicity secretary Tony Pua says only a “mentally unsound” person will equate the Penang floods to karma, the Hindu concept of punishment for past harmful actions.
“If all disasters happen because we offend religion, what do we say about disasters that occur in a religious country?” the Petaling Jaya Utara MP told reporters in Parliament today.
“If a disaster happens in Kelantan, what does it mean? And again, what does it mean if it happens in Kuala Lumpur?
“We can’t link disasters to religion. People who do that have mental problems,” he said.
Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad also joined the criticism, calling it cheap politics to relate the Penang floods to karma.
“When a disaster strikes, we help, not criticise. We show that we care by helping. That is a test set for us by God,” the Amanah leader said.
“Many other states are also hit by floods, such as Kedah and Kelantan. We can’t make a sweeping conclusion like that.”
Yesterday, Barisan Nasional’s Padang Besar MP Zahidi Zainul Abidin said punishment would befall a government that caused damage by clearing trees from hilly areas, mismanaged development and pitted one religion against another.
Zahidi said insulting religions or sponsoring events that conflicted with religion to the extent of causing public anger would also invite disasters.
“Don’t forget, sometimes when we commit a wrong, surely punishment will result and the people will suffer,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.
The floods which hit Penang over the weekend were described as among the worst in living memory. They caused widespread destruction of property, sending thousands to relief centres and killing seven people.