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EC's call on what to do if it floods on polling day, says Nadma

The National Disaster Management Agency says the Election Commission will decide whether polling will be held or not.

Azzman Abdul Jamal
2 minute read
Election Commission workers are briefed about their duties ahead of early voting for the Sarawak election in December last year.
Election Commission workers are briefed about their duties ahead of early voting for the Sarawak election in December last year.

Whether the 15th general election (GE15) will continue as planned if large-scale floods occur on polling day will be decided by the Election Commission (EC), the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) says. 

Nadma deputy director-general (post-disaster) Khairul Shahril Idrus added that while the country was busy preparing for the election, the agency remained prepared to deal with the possibility of floods as a result of the northeast monsoon, which is expected to start in mid-November. 

In an exclusive interview with MalaysiaNow, he said the monsoon season this time was expected to see about the same amount of rainfall as last year.

However, he said this was no guarantee of a repeat of the massive floods which swept across several states towards the end of 2021. 

The floods that occurred then took the country by surprise, claiming almost 50 lives and causing millions in losses. 

In Selangor, the worst affected state, areas such as Hulu Langat and Taman Sri Muda in Shah Alam were submerged to the roofs.

National Disaster Management Agency deputy director-general (post-disaster) Khairul Shahril Idrus speaks of the agency's preparations for a monsoon-season election.

Recalling the disaster, Khairul said it had been beyond anyone's expectations. 

"Although the amount of rainfall might be the same, the intensity is different," he added. 

"For example, in Taman Sri Muda, the rainfall could be the same but for a period of two to three days compared to the same amount of rain over a period of 30 days in other places." 

Khairul, who is currently performing the duties of Nadma director-general, added that the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) would be able to make a more accurate forecast within seven or even three days before such events. 

On preparations for this year's monsoon season, he said a meeting had been held at the central committee level and instructions given by the prime minister for the appropriate action to be taken. 

He said similar meetings at the state and district level had also been held. 

"Whether or not the election is held, we are still prepared," he said. 

"This includes preparations in terms of food aid, logistics for the transportation of flood victims to evacuation centres, and other related assistance." 

Nadma itself, he said, would act based on instructions from the National Security Council. 

He said Nadma functioned as a focal agency in terms of disaster management, to ensure the smooth implementation of policies and strategies. 

"We have made some improvements in light of our experience last year," he said. 

"But before that, in terms of the agency's readiness and its assets for this purpose, it will depend on the forecasts by MetMalaysia." 

Khairul said these forecasts were crucial to ensure that all areas receive the same level of attention, and to facilitate the evacuation of victims. 

"We have only limited assets and cannot send them throughout the country," he said. 

"That is why it's important to conduct a risk analysis based on what has been scientifically predicted by MetMalaysia." 

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