‘Floods could disrupt GE15’

PETALING JAYA: Fears that floods will wreak havoc on the general election if it is called this year are well-founded, according to weather and disaster management agencies.

Apart from wetter conditions due to the northeast monsoon, higher rainfall also presents another dangerous possibility – devastating floods.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) deputy director-general (Strategic and Technical) Mohd Hisham Mohd Anip said he would strongly recommend against the 15th General Election (GE15) being held this year.

He also noted the recent spate of flooding, although the country is now in the intermonsoon phase.

“We shouldn’t take the risk. We are already preparing to face the monsoon floods that have already occurred in Johor, Melaka and Perak.

“In my opinion, weather conditions will generally be unfavourable for GE15 this year,” he said during the National Climate Forum yesterday.

Mohd Hisham had been asked by reporters about the suitability of holding GE15 during the impending monsoon.

The northeast monsoon usually begins in early November and lasts till March the following year, bringing increased rainfall and floods.

National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) deputy director-general (disaster and planning preparations) Jamil Derus Ahmad also said elections during the monsoon would depend heavily on weather forecasts from MetMalaysia.

“The public should always refer to official channels like Nadma and MetMalaysia,” he said during the forum.

Separately, Mohd Hisham said the whole country should be on guard for floods and not just the east coast states of the peninsula.

“Based on what happened last December, we know the northeast monsoon can cause heavy rains and floods on the west coast too,” he said.

“If you live in flood-prone locations, always be prepared to move (if needed).”

In recent weeks, Umno has been calling for GE15 to be called before the end of the year, although most other parties are against the idea.

On Sept 17, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who has been at the forefront of the calls for early polls, said Barisan Nasional was willing to “wade through floodwaters” to campaign for GE15 if it was held during the monsoon.

The Barisan chairman later said that his remarks had been taken out of context by Barisan’s rivals.

He explained that his words were meant to let Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob know that Barisan was ready for GE15 no matter what.

Last Friday, Ahmad Zahid said a caretaker prime minister would be able to keep the country running and handle any floods.

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