CRITICISMS continue to come in over the UMNO Supreme Council’s decision that Parliament be dissolved as soon as possible to pave the way for the 15th General Elections (GE15) to be held this year.
The decision was revealed by party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan in a statement last night (Sept 30), who added that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob will be proposing the date for Parliament’s dissolution to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Pakatan Harapan Youth chief Dr Kelvin Yii said the announcement was not only “arrogant” but “highly irresponsible” as an election during the monsoon season will cost more and forsake the rakyat’s “interest”, especially those going to be affected by the floods.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) recently said heavy rain and thunderstorms could be expected from October to November as the country moves through the monsoon transition phase following the end of the southwest monsoon period.
“Even with such clear and early warnings by MetMalaysia, politicians from UMNO continue to forsake them for their own self-interest and are willing to gamble with people’s lives just because of a bunch of people who are scared of ending up behind bars for their criminal acts,” Yii said.
“Haven’t they learned from the devastation caused by the floods last year itself?” he asked. “The floods in December last year alone claimed about 50 lives and massive property damage, many among the poor and vulnerable.”
In a statement today, Yii, who is also the DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) said the fact of the matter is that countries around the world, including the US, Germany, Pakistan, South Korea and China, are experiencing severe weather like never before.
A third of Pakistan is even under water due to severe floods that have killed more than 1,400 people and caused huge devastation to properties, on the back of warnings by climate scientists that climate change effects will see more severe weather this year onwards.
“On top of that, with floods, we will see a higher risk of increase of diseases such as dengue or water-borne diseases like leptospirosis, cholera, typhoid fever and other diseases causing gastroenteritis that comes along with the floods,” Yii noted.
“However, instead of gearing up all necessary preparations and focus to save and protect lives, the Government chooses to play politics at the expense of the people; their focus will now be on campaigning rather than really focusing on the floods itself.”
The Bandar Kuching MP said last year’s floods and the recent warning by MetMalaysia should be used as a lesson to the Government that lives takes priority over anything else.
“That is why we the people in the upcoming election must stand up and make our vote count regardless of the situation.
“Remember these politicians that are gambling with your lives and make sure you punish them, not only to send a message but also to ensure the court cluster continues to face justice.”
Similarly, PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli slammed UMNO’s call for early polls during the monsoon season, saying both the federal and state Governments should focus on preparing to face the upcoming monsoon season and floods instead of politicking.
In a Facebook video last night, Rafizi also noted that the Election Commission has said if GE15 is held during the monsoon season, it may cost up to RM1.2 bil – around double what it cost to conduct the 14th General Elections (GE14) in 2008, which was about RM500 mil.
The extra costs were attributed to logistics, particularly in transporting voters to their respective polling stations in constituencies that become flooded.
“Instead of incurring fund wastage to hold an election during the monsoon season, it would be better to channel such funds to help the people in their preparation to face the floods,” Rafizi pointed out.
The former Pandan MP also lamented that hundreds if not thousands of civil servants will be tied down to election-related obligations when their focus should be on rendering assistance to help people lighten their burden during the floods.
“It is sad that UMNO sees the floods as a stepping stone to win GE15 when that puts the welfare of many families in jeopardy.”
Last December’s disastrous floods in the Klang Valley claimed about 50 lives and massive property damage, many among the poor and vulnerable. – Oct 1, 2022
Main photo credit: Bernama