October 20, 2022
PETALING JAYA – It may mean wading through water or standing in line carrying umbrellas, but nothing – not even floods – can stop many Malaysians from going out to vote.
This is especially so for those living in the east coast areas, for whom the annual year-end floods are just part of life.
Amzan Ibrahim, 57, who lives in Kemaman, Terengganu, said rain or shine, he would cast his vote.
“I will still go out and vote. So will those in our area. If floods hit, we will all be at flood relief shelters. It should be easier (then) to go out and vote,” he said.
Another resident in Pasir Minal, who wished to be known only as Syed, 40, said he too would go out and vote but with a heavy heart if there were floods.
“I know how difficult it is to go out during the floods. At that moment, our focus should be on saving both belongings and lives.
“But I understand it is my duty to vote,” said the odd-job worker.
Most residents in low-lying areas in Baling, Kedah, said they would deal with the wet spell to vote in the right candidate who can help end the flood issues there.
Hasriah Din, 50, who lives in Kampung Iboi, which was badly-hit recently, said she wanted an MP who cared for the villagers.
“During the floods early this year, many lost their cars, belongings and even their houses.
“I hope the weather will be fine on polling day,” she said.
Another villager, Azuwan Manaf, 44, also said he wanted a leader who knew how to solve the floods problem. GE15 is the right platform to choose such a person,” he said.
Rubber tapper Azhar Mat Isa, 36, however, said he would vote only if the weather was fine.
“My house is quite far from the nearest polling centre. If floods hit, I will have to take care of my family first,” he said.
Villager Mohd Kamal Tahak, 36, also echoed the sentiment, saying his family’s safety came first.
Baling experienced one of the worst floods in decades on July 4, believed to have been triggered by deforestation and uncertain weather patterns.
The floods affected 12 villages in Baling, leaving three people, including a pregnant woman, dead.
In Johor, Muhamad Faris Sulaiman, 27, said he would not miss out on voting.
“Voting is very important. We need to go out and vote so we can elect the best leaders,” said the 25-year-old char kuey teow seller who will be voting in Skudai.
Another voter, Ardylla, 27, said she would forgo voting this time and focus on saving her sick mother.
In Kota Tinggi, residents in Kampung Baru Sungai Mas were looking forward to polling day despite living in an area which is usually cut off during the monsoon season.
Single mother Noorizam Punijan, 52, said she would go out to vote to thank the party that helped her during her worst ever experience. Her husband died on Nov 4 last year and the house was flooded during the tahlil recital.
“He died the night before, and the funeral ended at around 9am the next day but it rained and the house was flooded, forcing all of us to move to a temporary relief centre (PPS) where we continued the tahlil,” she said.
“I don’t know how else I can thank those who have helped me, my six children and two grandchildren since my husband’s death.”
Tahfiz teacher Ahmad Ghazali Abd Latif, 35, who lives across the road, agreed but felt that GE15 could have been postponed.
“Right now, our focus is on how to protect our homes, our property, vehicles, and our farm animals,” he said.
In Selangor, many voters were worried that the floods of last December would be repeated.
“I stay in Kampung Sri Langkas Tambahan, Puchong, which is near Klang river. During heavy rains, Kampung Sri Aman where I vote, will be the first to get flooded, so I don’t think I will go out to vote.
“I need to move our vehicles, save my sick mother and our belongings,” she said.