Up to Election Commission to defer polls in event of major floods: Malaysia PM Ismail

A view of shop-lots and vehicles submerged in flood waters in Shah Alam, Selangor in Malaysia in December 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERA - Malaysia’s caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the Election Commission (EC) can decide whether to call off the upcoming general election if the north-east monsoon brings massive floods to the country.

“If major floods occur to the extent of preventing people from going out (to vote), then I will discuss with the EC to see if there are alternatives,” he was quoted as saying in Bernama.

“We will discuss with Met Malaysia (Malaysian Meteorological Department), the Disaster Management Committee, and the EC can also give its views. It is up to the EC if it wants to stop the election,” he said at a press conference after attending a community event on Sunday.

Malaysians are set to go to the polls on Nov 19, with some voting in advance on Nov 15.

Met Malaysia said the monsoon will begin on Nov 7, earlier than the previous forecast of mid-November. On Sunday, it issued a warning on continuous rain in Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor from Nov 8 to 11.

Meanwhile, motorists in Taman Maluri, Cheras in Kuala Lumpur were urged to exercise extra caution after a huge tree fell and blocked all lanes of a road on Sunday afternoon, The Star newspaper reported.

The tree had fallen on several vehicles along Jalan Mahkota, near Public Bank, according to Kuala Lumpur City Hall Command Centre.

“The fire department and civil defence force are at the location. (An) ambulance has arrived and victims are reported safe,” the command centre said on Facebook.

Parts of the Klang Valley were experiencing heavy rains and winds on Sunday evening.

The Umno government has been criticised for deciding to hold the general election during the monsoon season, when they have up to September 2023 to do so.

2021 saw one of Malaysia’s worst floods in history, with 54 people killed and damages amounting to about RM6.5 billion (S$2 billion).

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