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Floods hit six Malaysian states amid election campaigning

Floods hit six Malaysian states amid election campaigning

KUALA LUMPUR: Six states in Malaysia have been hit by floods as of noon on Sunday (Nov 13), with candidates for the 15th General Election (GE15) attempting to engage as many voters as possible over the weekend before Polling Day on Nov 19.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) said in a statement that 10 districts in the states of Penang, Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Johor and Kelantan have been affected by the floods.

The agency added that the number of flood victims has increased from 1,359 to 2,388 over the last 24 hours. Those who have been affected are taking shelter in 25 relief centres.

“A significant increase in victims was recorded in Pasir Mas district in Kelantan, while most other relief centres in the other states showed a declining trend or no change,” the NADMA statement said, according to Bernama.

The agency also said that eight new relief centres have been opened, including three each in Johor and Kelantan and one each in Penang and Perak. Seven relief centres were closed on Saturday and Sunday.

The Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) has also issued a warning of possible flash floods for several areas in Terengganu, Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah, Johor, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang on Sunday afternoon.

The department said the water levels of three rivers, namely Long Jegan in Miri, Sarawak; Rantau Panjang in Pasir Mas, Kelantan; and Sungai Melaka in Batu Hampar, Melaka; were at a dangerous level.

Among those who reportedly suspended their campaigning efforts over the weekend to help flood victims were Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Chua Jian Boon and Muhammad Noor Azman. Mr Chua is contesting in Kulai, Johor while Mr Muhammad is contesting in Kapar, Selangor.

Mr Mutalib Uthman of the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (MUDA), who is contesting in Masjid Tanah in Melaka, also wrote on Facebook that he had to cancel a campaigning event on Saturday due to flash floods.

MetMalaysia had forecast that the northeast monsoon season, which has already begun, will go on until March next year. This could result in flooding in low-lying and riverine areas, it noted.

On Nov 9, several areas in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur were hit by flash floods, forcing candidates to suspend their campaigning events

Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Lim Guan Eng had previously called for caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to publicly explain his refusal to heed MetMalaysia’s expert advice against holding GE15 this year. 

Prior to the dissolution of parliament, calls for an early general election by BN, especially by United Malays National Organisation’s (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, were severely criticised by the opposition as well as Mr Ismail Sabri’s own Cabinet members due to flood warnings from MetMalaysia. 

In December last year, more than 50,000 people were forced from their homes after the country faced some of its worst floods for years.

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