Floods in Malaysia and Thailand kill at least 24

Local residents use a boat to cross floodwaters in Kota Bahru on Dec 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Local residents use a boat to cross floodwaters in Kota Bahru on Dec 28, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - The worst flooding in Malaysia in more than a decade has killed 10 people and forced nearly 160,000 from their homes and more rain is expected, authorities said on Sunday.

Among the casualties, five were in the worst-hit state of Kelantan, in northeastern peninsular Malaysia. Over the border in southern Thailand, 14 people have been killed in the floods that began in mid-December.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak toured some of the worst-hit areas this weekend, following his return from a vacation in Hawaii on Friday.

Najib was criticised for his absence during the calamity, after being photographed playing golf with President Barack Obama.

Northeastern Malaysia and southern Thailand are regularly hit by flooding during the annual northeast monsoon but this year the rain has been particularly heavy.

The Malaysian government said rain in Kelantan and southern Thailand would last for at least another week. An official in the southern Thai border town of Sungai Kolok said it would take up to two days for water levels to drop and for the border to be reopened.