HONOLULU — A world leader is under fire for playing golf in Hawaii at a time of national crisis. Only this time, it's not President Obama.
Rather, it's Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who hit the links Wednesday with Obama at a course on a Marine base in Kaneohe Bay. Najib's round surprised some of his countrymen, who are calling on him to return home to deal with massive flooding that has displaced tens of thousands.
Najib's Facebook page was reportedly inundated with angry comments, and Malaysians also took to Twitter to complain that his vacation trip was inappropriate. Local news organizations picked up on the unhappiness.
"Come home, help flood victims instead of golfing in Hawaii, Najib told," the Malaysian Insider reported.
"STOP PLAYING GOLF, NAJIB!" the Malaysia Chronicle wrote.
Najib was in Hawaii on a vacation at the same time as Obama, and the White House said the president invited the prime minister for a round. Obama, who has been criticized for playing golf, including after the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley by the Islamic State militant group, has played several rounds since arriving on the island late Friday.
The frustration over Najib's round was apparent on Twitter.
Can't believe our nation's leader Najib is having fun playing golf with Obama at Hawaii while we are facing the largest flood in our country
— Zlatan (@xdidas) December 25, 2014
http://t.co/7yvypv90yt UK PM cancelled his visit to Middle East due to flooding in his country back in February 2014. Najib? Golf.
— Lutfi Hambali (@lutfihambalimr) December 25, 2014
Seems that round of golf with Obama in Hawaii has some considerable political downside for Malaysia's PM Najib - http://t.co/qQdMFkkIsn
— Simon Marks (@SimonMarksFSN) December 25, 2014
According to the Malaysian Insider, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin told reporters: "We must be fair. The prime minister also has his time for a break as he has been working so hard. He is also a human being. I told him not to worry and to have trust in me, we will manage the issue in whatever way we can."
He added that floods were an annual occurrence in Malaysia but that they were much more challenging this year.
However, "there is no need for Najib to come back immediately," the deputy said.
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