Malaysia faces wrath of Mother Nature days before its 15th general election 

Pictures courtesy Selangor Fire Department
Pictures courtesy Selangor Fire Department

The Malaysian government under interim prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was warned numerous times by climate experts and its own minister against holding a general election this year due to high possibility of another major monsoon flooding, however, the need to hold on to power is greater than that of the people’s safety. 

Now, less than a week before its 15th general election on Nov. 19, the country is facing the wrath of mother nature, as expected.  

As of Sunday (Nov. 13), six states in Malaysia were hit by floods while candidates for GE15 are working to turn out as many voters as they can before election day.

In a statement, the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) stated that the floods have hit 10 districts in the states of Penang, Perak, Selangor, Melaka, Johor, and Kelantan.

Relief centers open to victims

The agency also stated that over the past 24 hours, the number of flood victims rose from 1,359 to 2,388. Those who have been displaced are being housed in 25 relief centers across the peninsula. 

“A significant increase in victims was recorded in Pasir Mas district in Kelantan, while most other relief centers in the other states showed a declining trend or no change,” the NADMA statement said, according to Bernama.

Eight new relief centers have been opened, according to the agency, with three each in Johor and Kelantan and one each in Penang and Perak. Seven relief centers were closed on Saturday and Sunday.

These relief centers usually include schools and community halls. 

More flash flood warnings

A flash flood alert has also been issued for a number of locations in Terengganu, Selangor, Penang, Perak, Kedah, Johor, Kuala Lumpur, and Pahang for Sunday afternoon by the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID).

Three rivers, Long Jegan in Miri, Sarawak; Rantau Panjang in Pasir Mas, Kelantan; and Sungai Melaka in Batu Hampar, Melaka, according to the department, had dangerously high water levels.

The northeast monsoon season, which has already started, was anticipated by MetMalaysia to last until March of the next year. Low-lying and riverine areas may experience floods as a result, it warned.

According to the agency, the high tide phenomenon may occur starting Sunday (Nov. 6) until Nov. 11 and Nov. 22 until 27, followed by Dec. 7-12, Dec. 22-26, Jan. 6-10, and Jan. 21-25. 

The monsoon was previously expected to start around the middle of November.

Schools are not alternatives for  relief centers

A GE15 candidate and also a flood management expert, Dr Nurul Ashikin told Coconuts that Malaysia’s use of schools to house flood victims may not be the most ideal and safest shelter for them as schools are built differently than relief centers.  

“Malaysia is using a different guideline for schools and has no specific guideline for flood shelters. In order for us to define it as adequate, we need to refer to data and have an estimate of how many people will be affected by the floods and how many people one flood shelter caters to,” said Nurul who is contesting for the Ampang seat. 

“Schools are polling centers but at the same time it is also designated as flood relief centers so let’s hope that the government has a backup plan or it will be total chaos.” 

The move of Ismail Sabri’s administration to call an early election during the monsoon season, even though the election was slated for September 2023, has also drawn renewed criticism in the wake of the floods. 

More than 61,000 people were forced to leave their homes due to last year’s floods, which were the worst to hit the country in decades and resulted in damages of RM6.1 billion (US$1.3 billion).

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on