PETALING JAYA: The super weekend is here with candidates bracing for a flurry of ceramah and activities to woo voters.
However, there is another major event to brace for too – the northeast monsoon and the rain it brings, along with possible floods.
Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has already announced that the last payment of the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) programme will be expedited to ensure recipients get their money before the floods and landslides occur.
State governments and political party leaders are also ensuring that all precautions are in place and they intend to bite the bullet and woo voters no matter the weather.
In flood-prone Klang, Kota Kemuning assemblyman V. Ganabatirau, who is also the parliamentary seat candidate, said he had to cancel campaigning at times to handle flood problems there.
“There have been flood issues in Taman Sri Muda and Jalan Bukit Kemuning. There was also flooding in Pulau Indah last week and in Kampung Sungai Pinang.
“I only managed a walkabout yesterday to gather information about people’s grouses,” said the Selangor exco man.
In KEDAH, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said campaigning by Perikatan Nasional candidates will continue along with efforts to help flood victims.
“The people have been told to move if they have to. The state government will handle any possibility in line with the orders from the National Security Council,” said Muhammad Sanusi.
In PENANG, Nibong Tebal candidate Fadhlina Siddiq of Pakatan Harapan said the people’s lives remain the top priority.
“Amazingly, people still turn up for ceramah even when it’s raining and muddy. The GE15 spirit is on!” said the PKR Wanita chief, adding that ceramah are also great avenues to remind people of prioritising safety during the rainy season.
In PAHANG, Barisan Nasional’s Teruntum state seat candidate Tee Choon Ser said MCA’s Crisis Relief Squad is ready to be deployed any time.
Tee said she is in contact with village development and prosperity committees, new village development and prosperity committees, non-governmental organisations and the local community for relief mobilisation should there be floods.
Incumbent Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh said she has set up the Kuantan Prihatin Disaster Action Team for rescue operations.
”This is a group of volunteers trained in rescue operations.”
Fuziah said the possibility of floods in the state is high as the Sungai Belat Flood Mitigation Plan (RTB) is not yet complete.
“When the water level rises, it will be very fast, just like what happened earlier this year and at Kampung Sungai Isap in 2013.
“Then, the water level rose so quickly and about 30,000 households were affected.
“In places like Taman Guru, residents are mostly retirees and rescue is our main concern,” added Fuziah.
The northeast monsoon is expected to wreak most havoc in the east coast when it hits in mid-November and state governments have started to hand out assistance to those in flood-prone areas.
Caretaker Environment and Water Minister Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is contesting in a Kelantan parliamentary seat and a Pahang state seat under Perikatan Nasional, said the campaigns have been modified to suit the weather conditions.
“The PAS Amal team of volunteers and Khidmat Malaysia NGO have started to hand out daily necessities to those who may have to be evacuated.
“The priority will be to minimise the number of lives lost and damage to property. Then, there will of course be the big clean-up,” added Tuan Ibrahim.
Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said it is sad that the elections are being held during such a bad weather period.
“Some may say this will be good campaigning while assisting the victims, but this is abusing the victims.
“In Terengganu, the authorities, Rela, village committees and district offices have been conducting their rescue drills and simulations since October,” said Ahmad Samsuri.
In SARAWAK, which could see a rise in river water levels, all evacuation centres have been identified and readied should floods or landslides occur.
“The campaigning will go on as usual but it will be adjusted according to the weather. If there are floods, there are SOPs drawn up,” said caretaker Senior Works Minister and Gabungan Parti Sarawak top leader Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
“There are teams in every area to help in evacuations. Foodstuff and daily necessities will be readied,” said Fadillah, who is currently in Petra Jaya to defend his parliamentary seat.