Opposition, civil society groups slam decision to call for GE despite disaster warnings

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Opposition politicians have expressed their displeasure over the decision to dissolve the Parliament to make way for the next general election during the flood season.

They said that such a move was only risking the lives of people.

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh said that Barisan Nasional (BN) and its top leaders should take responsibility should there be any harm to the lives of the people.

“Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Ismail Sabri Yaakob and BN must be held accountable for any harm caused to the lives of people by the floods in Malaysia for their decision to dissolve Parliament during the rainy season,” the DAP lawmaker posted on Twitter.

Klang MP Charles Santiago urged voters to make the right decision during election or risk the possibility of seeing charges against convicted criminals dropped.

“We can still exercise our civic duty and vote out Umno and Barisan Nasional, or convicted criminals will walk free and the ‘court cluster’ will have charges dropped,” he tweeted.

The DAP lawmaker even claimed that Umno had disrespected the Hindu community for making the dissolution announcement two weeks before Deepavali, alluding that the election campaign period would fall during the festival.

“The announcement is highly insensitive to the Hindu community who will celebrate Deepavali in two weeks.”

“Why the disrespect to the Indian community?” Santiago asked.

DAP CEC member Young Syefura Othman called on Malaysians to “punish” BN and Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the upcoming elections by not voting for them.

“I call on Malaysians to punish the arrogance of Umno and BN.

“Let’s come out in masses to defeat BN and PN, who are the reason for damaging the country’s democracy with the ‘Sheraton Move’.

“People need to teach them a lesson. Nothing is more powerful than people power,” she posted on Facebook.

Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PKR) said although he is ready to face the battle, the situation right now is not suitable for the general election to be held.

“There is a possibility of flooding, yet they decided to go on with the general election. This is a selfish move and illogical.

“There is no humanity in them, when not only the Malaysian Meteorology Department (MetMalaysia) has predicted bad weather, the US Embassy too has also issued a warning on bad weather to its citizens in the country.

“To me, this is the most unfortunate decision for Malaysians,” he said.

Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who is also the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president, said the party will collaborate with Malaysians to teach Umno for forcing millions of people for the sake of their own interests.

“Despite repeated calls to wait after the flooding season to hold GE15, Umno continued with their plan, which showed their arrogance.”

Syed Saddiq said Muda is ready to face the battle and help the good people of Malaysia.

“Malaysians are the victims because in the end Umno is talking about votes, while Muda talks about the people.

“For Umno, it is all about power and nothing but power. I hope the voters will punish Umno for their arrogance.”

Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad has also described the move as irresponsible.

“Almost all opposition parties are against the move to hold a general election during the flooding season, the same goes with the King.

“(And) the announcement made just now is a testament to the obscurity and arrogance of the Umno president, as well as the apparent weakness of the prime minister’s leadership.

“Therefore, this general election should be an opportunity for the people to ensure that democracy and the economy continue to be strengthened, while corrupt practices and abuse of power are curbed, and the country does not return to the dominance of the Kleptocrats.”

Meanwhile, civil society groups have expressed regret with the hastened dissolution of the Parliament today which disregards the plight of the people and safety as the general elections would take place during the forecasted floods.

Civil society coalition Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM) chairman Stanley Yong said the Parliament should be given its full five terms to perform.

He said it was acceptable if the reason for dissolution was due to the vote of no-confidence against the Prime Minister and the recently tabled 2023 Budget had yet to be debated and passed in Parliament.

Yong said it was irresponsible and unwise of the Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob if he had proposed to dissolve the parliament due to pressure from his own party, Umno, of which he is vice-president.

He said a PM should have the people’s interest at heart and not his own political party as he heads and decides the future of the country.

Meanwhile, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) steering committee in a statement expressed regret that the prime minister has made a request for early dissolution of the Parliament, which the King conventionally granted.

“We reiterate our view that it is irresponsible to risk life and property loss for a dubious claim of achieving political stability.

“The authorities, including the Election Commission (EC), may be forced to halt the GE15 in areas affected, or if too many areas are affected, suspend it nationwide.”

Bersih also expressed regret that GE15 was called before the 2023 Budget was passed.

“It’s utter contempt of Parliament when the ‘candies’ in the budget are dangled before the public as election goodies of the PM’s party even as the budget did not go through parliamentary debates to scrutinise Its merits and costs.

“We are also concerned that regardless of whichever parties comes to power, they would need to table its budget again, be it the same or a different one.

“This may become a crisis point, resulting in the collapse of the new government if its budget is voted down by its coalition partners.”