KJ: Holding GE during monsoon not suitable


PUTRAJAYA: Holding the general election amid a monsoon will not be suitable due to logistical as well as health concerns, says the Health Minister.

Khairy Jamaluddin said governments, by convention, would usually avoid calling for polls at a time when a flood contingency was expected.

“During the monsoon, a great deal of human resources is required. Personnel need to be mobilised to evacuate flood victims as well as manage the evacuation centres.

“Also, many schools will be used as evacuation centres, so it will be difficult if an election is held during the flood season as schools are also used as polling centres,” he added.

On the health front, he said the floods would lead to higher transmission of waterborne diseases.

“So of course as the Health Ministry, we feel that it is not suitable if the general election is held during the monsoon season,” Khairy told a special media briefing at his ministry yesterday.

Asked if the ministry had conveyed its reservations to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Khairy said “this is something that should be well understood”.

Keeping a close eye: Malaysian Meteorological Department officer Norain Farah Aida Ismail monitoring the weather pattern from the operations centre in Petaling Jaya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The StarKeeping a close eye: Malaysian Meteorological Department officer Norain Farah Aida Ismail monitoring the weather pattern from the operations centre in Petaling Jaya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

“The PM is aware and understands ... even if we don’t voice it out to him,” he pointed out.

To a question on whether the Cabinet meeting yesterday had decided on when Parliament would be dissolved to pave the way for GE15, Khairy said: “Just by making normal calculations you will probably be able to figure out when.

“Parliament has to be dissolved by mid-next year, at the latest. And there are certain months that the election is less likely to be held.”

He said regardless of when the general election was called, the ministry would be ready to swing into action.

“I want my officers and staff members to be prepared. Once Parliament is dissolved, the ministry has to operate on autopilot.

“We must ensure there is continuity so that all plans can be executed even when I am no longer the minister,” he said.

Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was reported to have said recently that GE15 could be held even during the monsoon period.

The monsoon is expected to last between November and February.

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