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Flood survivors against monsoon-season election

A political analyst meanwhile says that a flood-time election might backfire on the government.

Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
A woman sits at the doorway of her house in Bukit Dukong after the flood which swept through Hulu Langat in December last year.
A woman sits at the doorway of her house in Bukit Dukong after the flood which swept through Hulu Langat in December last year.

A number of flood victims in the country who were badly affected by the various deluges of late say they are against the calls by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's camp for the 15th general election (GE15) to be held as soon as possible, even if it means the possibility of flood-season polls. 

Zahid, who is Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, said last week that the coalition was ready to brave rain and floods to face the election if Parliament is dissolved in the near future. 

But Abdul Rahman Said, who lost his wife, daughter-in-law and 14-year-old son in the floods which hit Iboi, Kedah, in July, said holding an election during the flood season would be a hasty move. 

"If it floods, people won't be thinking about going out to vote," the 71-year-old told MalaysiaNow. 

"Life and safety is more important," he said, adding that the floods which regularly occur at the end of the year are usually on a large scale, especially in the east coast. 

He said he and the other flood victims in Iboi had submitted a memorandum to the prime minister on Sept 1, asking to be compensated for their losses. 

He said this would help them obtain some of the necessities they required for the homes they would receive. 

"Even these homes that were promised, some of them are still being built and some have yet to begin construction," he said. 

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently said that the date of the dissolution of Parliament would be announced soon to pave the way for GE15.

Observers believe that Parliament might be dissolved after the 2023 budget presentation which is scheduled to take place on Oct 7. 

The current term which began after GE14 will end in July next year. 

MalaysiaNow previously reported that GE15 would be held in stormy conditions if it takes place at the end of the year, due to the transition in monsoon season. 

Safarina Napiah, 40, another victim of the Iboi flood, said she too disagreed with any move by the government to hold the election during a disaster. 

"Everything that happened that day was chaotic, what more if an election is held at the same time," she said. 

Safarina, who lost nearly all of her possessions in the flood, added that she was still in the process of repairing her home, dipping into her savings to do what had to be done. 

In any case, she said, she and her family were in no mood to enjoy the atmosphere of the campaign period which is usually a lively affair. 

Political analyst Mazlan Ali said Ismail appeared to be confirming the impression that the election would be held at the end of the year. 

Mazlan, of Universiti Teknologi Mara, however said that this would backfire on the government as Umno would come across as putting the party over the people. 

"If it does flood during the election period, not many will go out to vote," he said, adding that lives would be disrupted, making it difficult for people to focus on the election process. 

"People will be angry if the election is held during the flood season," he said.