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MAJOR ROADS TO KOTA BARU OPENED

As of yesterday, the floodwaters had subsided enough for major roads heading towards Kelantan's capital, Kota Baru, to be opened.

Nine people have drowned in the state since the floods struck the east coast.

Kelantan police chief Deputy Commissioner Mazlan Lazim said three bodies were found in Kota Baru, four in Pasir Mas, and two in Tumpat.

"We have yet to locate a three-year-old child in Pasir Mas and three people said to be missing in Kuala Krai," he said, adding that police have formed eight teams to check on looting.

The Malaysian National Security Council said that "exceptionally high" water levels had cut off rescuers from relief centres as the death toll rose to 21 across the north-east.

Fifteen people have been killed in neighbouring southern Thailand.

Most of the criticism was directed at Prime Minister Najib Razak, who visited Kelantan yesterday, for his absence as the disaster unfolded. He had been photographed playing golf with US president Barack Obama in Hawaii.

"No matter how prepared we are, there will always be a bigger and more devastating disaster that tests the capability and resources of the country," the council said in a statement to online news portal, the Malaysian Insider.

Opposition member Tony Pua denounced the government's reluctance to declare a state of emergency and its "complete lack of urgency" in calling a council meeting.

"We are running a headless government with no urgent, cohesive and proactive response to the arising chaos," Mr Pua said in a statement.

Singapore yesterday sent two C130 planes with water purifiers and operators to Kelantan.

"No matter how prepared we are, there will always be a bigger and more devastating disaster that tests the capability and resources of the country."

- The Malaysian National Security Council