VOTERS in Long Bemang in the Baram parliamentary constituency had to take boats instead of four-wheel-drive vehicles to reach a nearby secondary school on the bank of the swollen Baram River to cast their votes today.
SK Long Bemang, which is used as a polling centre, and its surrounding areas were in knee-deep water.
The Civil Defence and Fire and Rescue Service departments, which are monitoring the floods in Sarawak, have maintained their warning to people in the area to continue to be on the alert for the worst flooding.
Dennis Ngau, the assemblyman for Telang Usan, said the flooding was anticipated as it was “a common occurrence” here at this time of the year.
Telang Usan is one of three state seats that make up the state’s second largest parliamentary constituency – the area size is bigger than most states in the peninsula though – but with only 59,535 voters.
The other two state seats are Marudi and Mulu. All three state seats are held by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
Ngau told The Malaysian Insight that GPS campaign workers had since last week started assembling as many boats so they could form a small flotilla to run a free shuttle service to get the voters from longhouses in the area to the school and back.
The largest settlement there is the 100-door Long Bemang longhouse with more than 500 residents.
“I’ve been told that they are assembling the boats for use if any kampung is flooded,” said Ngau.
He said the network of roads in the Long Bemang area “seems to be okay as none is under water”.
“People (from Miri) can reach their kampungs (and settlements), but the only problem is that some of the polling centres in the Baram constituency are normally flooded,” he said.
The GPS incumbent, Anyi Ngau, is in a three-way fight to defend this seats he had held for two terms.
He faces Roland Engan of Pakatan Harapan and Independent candidate Wilfred Entika.
This will be Engan’s, the current PKR state chairman, third attempt to wrest the seat from Anyi. – November 19, 2022.