KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysians are set to herald the New Year on a solemn note as major celebrations have been cancelled after widespread recent flooding and three aviation disasters this year.
The Federal Government and most states cancelled their official New Year’s Eve events for on Wednesday.
The prime minister’s office said the three million ringgit (about 860,000 dollars) budgeted for the national bash would be best used to aid the nearly a quarter of a million people displaced by floods in five states.
The disaster that began over two weeks ago and claimed at least 15 lives had begun to subside in most of the worst-hit states in the east coast.
The National Security Council reported that as of Wednesday, the number of people in evacuation centres had dropped to about 150,000 from a high of nearly 250,000.
The country’s reputation or at least its pride has also taken a blow from three extraordinary aviation disasters during 2014.
National flag carrier Malaysia Airlines suffered the mysterious disappearance of a jetliner with 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard on March 8
A multinational search effort throughout the year has failed to turn up evidence of flight MH370, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean after making a radical change in its fight plan.
On July 17 Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed in the Ukraine with 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard after apparently having been shot by a missile.
Also on Dec. 28, an Indonesian aeroplane of the Malaysia-based AirAsia crashed in the Java Sea after takeoff from Indonesia with 155 passengers and seven crew members.
However, there have been no survivors from the three accidents. (dpa/NAN)