Nadma: EC can cancel, postpone polling if flood happens

However, the cancellation or postponement needs to depend on the flood situation at that time 


THE Election Commission (EC) has the authority to cancel or postpone the polling for areas that are affected by the flood, the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) said. 

However, Nadma deputy DG (post-disaster management) Datuk Khairul Shahril Idrus said such cancellation or postponement needs to depend on the flood situation at that time. 

“If the flood disrupts the polling process such as voters unable to come out to cast their votes, EC can issue a directive to either postpone the polling for that area or will be releasing the voting result slightly later. 

“But, if the water is only at ankle level, then it shouldn’t be any problem to continue with the voting process,” he was recently quoted as saying. 

He added that the commission already has a ruling regarding this and it is based on the existing standard operating procedures (SOPs). 

Khairul Shahril stressed that Nadma has no authority to cancel any polling as it is only responsible for managing the disaster, in line with the directive issued by the National Security Council. 

Malaysia is predicted to experience the northeast monsoon next month to which EC had on Oct 20 announced that polling for the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15) will be held on Nov 19, nomination day on Nov 5, while early voting will take place on Nov 15. 

Meanwhile, EC refused to comment whether it has allocated any additional budget if flood happens on polling day and what are the SOPs. 

“Please refer to the statement issued on Oct 20 for GE15’s budge allocation,” one of EC representatives said when contacted. 

Bernama previously reported that it is too early for the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) to predict the weather during GE15. 

MetMalaysia deputy DG (strategic and technical) Dr Mohd Hisham Mohd Arip said the weather patterns cannot be determined for now because the country is still in the monsoon transition phase which started last Oct 3 and is expected to last until next month. 

“Though we are unable to forecast if the weather will be good or bad at that time, we will try our best to inform about the weather conditions four or five days before that,” he said recently. 

As for flood preparation, caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said there would be a total of 69,235 security and rescue personnel available to be deployed to handle possible flood disasters in the country. 

“The number of personnel would be increased according to the situation if floods strike on an unusually massive scale nationwide,” he said recently, adding that some 1,816 Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) boats, 1,810 four-wheel-drive vehicles, 1,596 lorries and 19 air assets would be used for flood relief operations.

In terms of flood evacuation centres (PPS), Ismail Sabri said the government had identified 2,010 of the 6,010 PPS nationwide which could also be used as voting centres. 

He said these PPS would be segregated into evacuation and voting centres if flooding occurs on GE15 polling day. 

“For example, a school with three blocks can double up as a polling centre and PPS. Schools normally have three blocks, where two blocks can serve as PPS and one as a voting centre. 

“We will make preparations according to the situation and this does not mean the 2,010 dual-function centres will have to handle floods. Flood victims can be moved to other places where available, including at community halls, suraus and mosques,” he said. 

On that note, caretaker Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainu- din said his ministry had identified as many as 5,500 “hotspot” locations at risk of flooding nationwide, including 186 areas at risk of water surge phenomenon. 

“We have studied several strategies to ensure the people can put their trust in the PDRM because we are prepared to face the possibility of a disaster due to heavy rainfall,” he said.