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Rain and storms await an end-year GE15

Weather experts say the northeast monsoon period usually begins in early November.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
3 minute read
Pedestrians shield themselves from the rain as they run across the road in Jalan Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur.
Pedestrians shield themselves from the rain as they run across the road in Jalan Dang Wangi, Kuala Lumpur.

Voters can expect to grapple with stormy weather if the 15th general election (GE15) is held at the end of the year, a possibility that gained new currency following the government's decision last month to bring forward the budget presentation by some three weeks. 

Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, chief of the meteorology department, said the country would experience a transitional monsoon phase from October to early November, where the weather would be good in the morning but frequent thunderstorms would occur in the west coast and interior of the peninsula as well as the western and central areas of Sarawak and western Sabah. 

"There will be a high risk of flash floods during this period, especially in low-lying areas on the west coast of the peninsula," he said when contacted by MalaysiaNow. 

Adding that the northeast monsoon usually begins in early November, he said from November to December, continuous rain could be expected for several days, especially in states on the east coast of the peninsula, and in the west of Sarawak and east of Sabah. 

He also noted concerns that monsoon rains would occur alongside low pressure which could cause large-scale floods in the states in question. 

Law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said on Aug 26 that the government would present its budget for 2023 to Parliament on Oct 7 instead of Oct 28 as originally scheduled. 

The next Parliament sitting was also brought forward to Oct 3 to accommodate the new budget schedule and the tabling of other bills, he said without saying why the budget had been brought forward.

Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan meanwhile said at a recent Barisan Nasional (BN) event that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob had promised that GE15 would be held this year. 

The budget for 2023 is widely expected to be an "election budget", with a range of incentives aimed at attracting the support of voters. 

This is despite the current term only ending in July next year – five years after the 14th general election in 2018 that saw the downfall of the BN government for the first time in more than six decades. 

Mohamad, who is the assemblyman for Rantau, also said that the best time to hold an election would be in November, to avoid worse weather in December. 

Ismail has been under pressure from his party to call for an early election, with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi among those urging him to dissolve Parliament before the expiry of its term. 

Observers have said that an early election would benefit Zahid, who is facing criminal charges in court. 

Earlier this year, Umno even amended its constitution to postpone the party elections that should have been held this year to six months after GE15. 

Election calls have also been growing among the Umno grassroots since former leader Najib Razak was told to begin serving a 12-year jail term for the misappropriation of tens of millions in SRC International funds, after his final appeal was dismissed by the Federal Court. 

At the meteorology department, Helmi did not rule out the possibility of a repeat of the massive floods which swept across parts of Selangor in December last year. 

He said the weather was not likely to have a significant impact on the election if it is held in October as the risk of disasters only involves thunderstorms with the potential to produce strong winds, heavy rain and flash floods within a short period of time. 

"If it is held in early November, there is less of a possibility that floods will occur on a wide scale," he said. 

"But the risk of this will increase from mid-November onwards, especially towards the end of the month." 
Meanwhile, Marlia Mohd Hanafiah who leads the Institute of Climate Change at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said the latest records showed that rainfall was expected to be higher than normal from November through to January. 

"Going on this information, the rain might not affect the process of GE15 itself," she said. 

"But continuous rain could result in floods in at-risk locations, especially low-lying areas."

Helmi meanwhile said that the weather would play a bigger role if GE15 is held in December, as the northeast monsoon winds are more active during this period and the risk of continuous heavy rain and large-scale flooding is higher. 

"People will need to plan their travels in greater detail during this time, and always check for the latest weather updates."