KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 19 — The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) has urged the Election Commission (EC) and the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) to immediately publish their standard operating procedures (SOP) for elections during the flood season.

In a statement today, the watchdog said that the nomination and polling dates of the 15th general election (GE15), which are expected to be announced tomorrow, should also take into account the hindrance any voters might face in the event of a flood in their constituency.

According to Bersih, the recent flood in Langkawi had impacted 14 of the island’s 27 polling districts, potentially affecting approximately 57 per cent of Langkawi’s voters.

“Had the polling date been the day after the floods, what are the measures which would be taken? Extension of polling hours?


“Ferrying voters with boats to less affected areas to reach polling centres? Mobile ballot boxes in flood relief centres for evacuated flood victims? Postponement of elections?” it said in a statement.

Bersih said that the EC, Nadma and all disaster management committees must be prepared for floods that may happen on or just before polling day.

“The EC must ensure its representatives must sit on the national, state and district-level disaster management committees and that decisions on saving lives and preserving democracy are coordinated to minimise the trade-off between the two.


“It is regrettable that the Parliament has been dissolved amidst the flood season against expert advice. The EC must not be pushed to complete (the) elections at the risk of harming lives or suppressing votes,” they said.

Meanwhile, Bersih added that the SOPs must include a clear chain of command for decision making, the percentage of low voter turnout to justify an extension of polling hours, and the number of affected polling districts to justify a postponement at constituency level.

“Any decision to delay polling — even just at a few affected constituencies, let alone the entire GE15 — would be greatly controversial, as it would affect voters’ choices in postponed elections or cause the balance of power hanging in the air.

“However, not doing so may cause either avoidable loss of lives or suppression of votes,” the watchdog said, adding that poor voting preparations amidst floods could sink the country into further political turmoil.

Previously, the international movement for Malaysians abroad, Bersih Global, had also brought up the issue of floods disrupting the postal voting system, which could delay ballot papers reaching their respective polling stations.

On October 10, caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the dissolution of Parliament to trigger a general election that must be held within 60 days of the declaration.

This was despite warnings of torrential downpours by the Malaysian Meteorological Department that could coincide with the campaign period and polling day.