Malaysia’s prime minister said Friday he is cutting short his American vacation to deal with the worst floods in his country in decades.
Najib Razak came under fire this week after photos emerged showing him playing golf in Hawaii with U.S. President Barack Obama. People posted messages on his Facebook page, castigating him and urging him to return home as the flooding worsened.
The rising waters have displaced more than 100,000 people and killed five. Among the victims was a toddler girl swept from her mother’s arms as the woman waded toward a relief center, the Associated Press reported.
Najib, who was to have returned January 2 to Kuala Lumpur, said he would be back in his country Saturday.
"I am deeply concerned by the floods," he said, according to the AP. "I feel for the people who have lost their homes and the families who have lost loved ones. I want to see the situation for myself and be with the people."
Authorities have evacuated numerous villages and towns in five northern Malaysian states that were inundated in unusually strong torrential rains.
Malaysian forecasters said heavy rains are expected for the next few days and likely will spread to previously unaffected southern states.