Flash floods in parts of Selangor have prompted some Malaysia’s general election candidates to suspend their campaigning and head to the flood-hit areas.
Incumbent Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin cancelled his plans to visit a night market in the Sungai Buloh parliamentary ward on Thursday and instead went to the Kampung Melayu Subang area, which was inundated with knee-high flood waters.
Donning yellow rubber boots, he waded through the waters to assess the situation, noting that a river had breached its banks due to a short river bund.
He said he had contacted the Irrigation and Drainage Department (DID) to resolve the matter, and teams had been sent to residents’ homes to help with the cleanup.
Not to be outdone, his key rival, Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Ramanan Ramakrishnan, pushed back a planned meet-the-people session to visit a flood-hit area to talk to residents there about their plight.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari, who is a contender for the Gombak parliamentary seat, cancelled walkabouts and a rally to visit flood relief centers in the Klang and Petaling districts late Thursday night.
On Friday, he chaired a flood-related meeting with the relevant departments, and told all agencies to increase their level of preparedness to ensure flood victims are given the necessary aid.
In the district of Klang, former defence minister and PH’s candidate for the Kota Raja parliamentary seat, Mohamad Sabu, dropped by a flood relief center in Kampung Johan Setia to express his concerns.
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) candidate for the Kapar parliamentary seat, Dr Halimah Ali, also cancelled her hustings to check on the flood situation in the affected areas in her constituency.
Malaysia’s DID had on Wednesday warned of flash flooding in Selangor, Pahang, Johor and Sarawak, based on rainfall forecast information.
The recent days’ flash floods have reignited public anger over the caretaker government’s decision to hold the 15th General Election on Nov 19 during the monsoon season.
Caretaker Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob dissolved Parliament on Oct 10, drawing strong criticisms from the public and opposition leaders for holding an election during the monsoon season when they have up to September 2023 to do so.
Last year saw one of Malaysia’s worst floods in history, resulting in 54 people killed and damage amounting to about RM6.5 billion (S$1.9 billion).
The federal government and five others have described the December floods as “acts of God”, in their statement of defense against a lawsuit by 50 flood victims from a township in Shah Alam, Selangor.