A former Malaysian minister and current Member of Parliament (MP) urged his countrymen to look for opportunities instead of complaining about the floods that have plagued the country.
"If you know it is coming, then start planning now. Maybe we can have voluntary tourism where people come to the country to help us with the floods, and it is not about them coming here just to enjoy but for them to also learn," said Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz to Sinar Daily, according to The Star.
Nazri served as Malaysia's Tourism and Culture Minister under the Barisan Nasional government of Najib Razak. He represents Padang Regas (Perak) in Parliament.
Floods are a big problem in Malaysia, where annual rains have ruined houses, blocked roads and even taken lives.
In December 2021, floods killed at least 14 people and displaced over 66,000 people in the states of Selangor, Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Malacca, Perak and the city of Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore donated money to disaster relief and offered the assistance of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
As late as May 2022, floods were still affecting Seremban, in Negri Sembilan.
What if we had a yearly festival for the flood? - Nazri
But Nazri thinks there could be a silver lining -- in more ways than one.
He mentioned annual floods in Kuala Krai in Kelantan, and said that the flood is like a "festival."
"Every monsoon, we have a flood festival, and people will come. Because now there is 'voluntourism', where foreigners come to do volunteer work and they pay (to buy tickets and so on)."
He also pointed out that due to the current weakness of the Malaysian ringgit, this could be another enticement for tourists to visit Malaysia.
"When our currency falls, it’s time for us to promote tourism for the country because it is cheap for them," said Nazri.
He also had Singaporeans in mind.
"The Singaporeans will come because they spend only one-third of their salary and to them, our five or six star hotels are just so cheap," he said, according to The Star.
Top image from Wan Juniadi Tuanku Jaafar's Facebook page.