All efforts have been made to ensure that voting takes place in a safe environment.
As Malaysia awaits the announcement of the date of the upcoming general election following the dissolution of parliament, Klang MP Charles Santiago has asked the Election Commission (EC) to reveal its flood mitigation plans should disaster strike.
With all scheduled parliamentary sittings now cancelled, the DAP lawmaker urged the EC to make the plans public.
“The EC needs to explain its mitigation plans if voters are unable to go out to vote because their houses are flooded or fearful that their houses might be flooded or that roads might be closed due to the high water levels,” Santiago said.
“Malaysians, especially senior citizens, need to be assured all efforts have been made to ensure that voting takes place in a safe environment.
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday announced the dissolution of parliament to pave the way for the 15th general election.
He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had given his royal assent for the dissolution of the current parliament term, which was set to end in July next year.
A general election now must be held within 60 days after the dissolution of parliament.
The Meteorological Department had warned that Malaysia would experience the monsoon season in November.
Last year, eight out of 11 states in Peninsular Malaysia were hit by floods in December as the country saw its heaviest rainfall in 100 years, according to officials.
Selangor was one of the states hit by floods.
Citing the floods in the state last year, Santiago said more than 50% of Klang parliamentary voters were affected in the disaster and claimed that most schools and halls were set up as evacuation centres for flood victims.
Should there be a flood, and with schools to be used as polling centres, Santiago asked if the EC had any contingency plans.
“Most of the schools designated as polling centres were used last year as temporary evacuation centres.
“It’s therefore crucial the EC explains what would happen if schools have to be used as both evacuation centres and polling stations.
“How will the EC ensure that the ballot boxes remain safe and not tampered with if transport vehicles are abandoned due to floods?
“How does the EC plan to deal with the situation of moving 1,300 polling and counting agents (PACA) in the event of a flood? Will the transparency of voting be affected due to this movement of personnel?” he asked.
Santiago said the EC has an obligation to explain flood mitigation plans clearly to the rakyat, unless of course, there is no such plan in the first place.
Calling the actions by the EC irresponsible and arrogant, Santiago said the inability to mitigate the consequences, such as ensuring safe voting and transporting of ballot boxes, could change the outcome of the election.
Santiago also slammed the EC for not replying to his correspondence sent on October 3 to the EC chairman and commissioner asking them to provide details of their preparations and plans to deal with GE15 if there was a flood during the election period including polling day.
Santiago said he would send a follow-up today since there was no reply, not even an acknowledgement of his request. – TMI