Cameron Highlands is the cynosure of the country for a historic by-election which will be held this month to determine who will be the Member of Parliament for Cameron Highlands. Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is confident that Barisan Nasional will have an easy victory in the by-election. But just as he was proven wrong in the last general election in May last year when he was confident of an easy and great victory to the extent of BN winning back the two-thirds parliamentary majority, I hope that Najib will be proven wrong again that BN will have a victory in the Cameron Highlands by-election.
Let us work hard for M. Manogaram’s victory as Member of Parliament for Cameron Highlands in the by-election. The Cameron Highlands by-election will be an unique one. MIC wanted to appeal against the Election Court decision which ruled that MIC Vice President C. Sivarraajh’s election as Member of Parliament for Cameron Highlands in May last year was null and void because of corrupt election practices, but was overruled by UMNO to protect UMNO, in particular the Pahang Mentri Besar who is the Assemblyman for Jelai so that the Pahang Mentri Besar’s electoral corruption practices are not further highlighted. I will not be surprised if MIC is also not allowed to contest in the Cameron Highlands by-election by UMNO, for high stakes are involved in this by-election: it is not only a life-and-death political battle for the Pahang Mentri Besar, it is also a life-and-death political battle for UMNO and Barisan Nasional.
The Cameron Highlands by-election is also important for Pakatan Harapan, for it is the first by-election after the last general election involving a seat of Barisan Nasional as the previous three Selangor State Assembly by-elections and the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election involved Pakatan Harapan seats. I will go one step further – the Cameron Highlands by-election is in fact the opening shot of Pakatan Harapan for the 15th General Election to capture the Pahang State Governement to be able to resolve the land problem of the Orang Asli.
Najib had failed the Orang Aslis as Prime Minister by focusing on the international 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal instead of bringing the Orang Asli into the national mainstream of development. One question uppermost in the minds of the voters of Cameron Highlands is why the former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is positioning himself as the primary spokesman for the Barisan Nasional in the Cameron Highlands by-election on January 26.
Najib said in Pekan yesterday that he is confident that the Barisan Nasional will retain its victory in the Cameron Highlands by-election on Jan 26. As former Prime Minister, why Najib had no sense of shame that the Cameron Highlands by-election is being held because of money-politics, vote-buying and corrupt electoral practices? I have said that it would require a miracle for the Pakatan Harapan to win the Cameron Highlands by-election, as the seat had always been one of the Barisan Nasional fortresses as evidenced by the fact that the seat had never been won by any other coalition in the nation’s history. But we are in the era of political miracles, starting with the historic result of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018 despite Najib’s supreme confidence of an easy victory in the 14GE, even for Barisan Nasional to win back two-thirds parliamentary majority lost in the 12th General Election 10 years ago in 2008. The Cameron Highlands by-election is therefore a second opportunity to prove Najib wrong – and this time, by the voters of Cameron Highlands.
It is regrettable that Najib is resorting to cheap and low-class politics, which required the Director-General of the Department of Orang Asli Development (JAKOA), Datuk Ajis Sitin to issue a statement yesterday to refute the former Prime Minister’s allegation that the Pakatan Harapan government did not provide allocation for the Orang Asli community in Budget 2019. Ajis said the Pakatan Harapan government allocated RM100 million for the development and welfare of the Orang Asli community nationwide and the focus will be on the construction and upgrade of roads to facilitate Orang Asli in their daily activities to raise their socio-economic status. Najib also launched an attack on me for saying that the previous BN government had neglected the Orang Asli. There can be no doubt that Najib, as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia for eight years, had failed the Orang Asli in the country by focusing on the international 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal and other 1MDB-line scandals in Felda, Felcra, MARA and Tabung Haji instead of bringing the Orang Asli into the national mainstream of development.
Is Najib prepared to compare the total amount of public funds squandered in the 1MDB scandal and the other 1MDB-like scandals with the total expenditures spent on Orang Asli development in his eight years as Prime Minister? It is a crying shame that after six decades of JAKOA history, only about 30 per cent of JAKOA staff are Orang Asli and only two JAKOA State Directors are from the Orang Asli community, when by now, after more than six decades of JOKOA, at least 70 per cent of the JAKOA staff and all State JOKOA Directors should have come from the Orang Asli community. There are 27 Orang Asli kampongs in the Cameron Highlands constituency, involving 1,637 families with a total population of 6,976 people. If Najib had not focused his attention and energies on tne 1MBD scandal and other 1MDB-linked scandals, bogged down in corruption and abuses of power to such extent that Malaysia was condemned by the world as a “global kleptocracy” and he had devoted more funding and resources for the development of the Orang Aslis, the plight of the Orang Aslis in Cameron Highlands today would be in a better position.
Does Najib deny that in this modern age of Internet where information travels at the speed of light, some 20 per cent of the Orang Aslis in the Cameron Highlands constituency live without electricity. Can Najib define what he understands as the meaning of the full success of JAKOA?
M. Manogaran will be the voice of Orang Asli, not only from Cameron Highlands, but from all over Malaysia, in Parliament if he is elected Member of Parliamnt for Cameron Highands on January 26. Although MIC Vice President C Sivarraajh was elected Member of Parliament from May 9, 2018 until the end of November when his election was declared null and void because of money politics and electoral corruption, Sivaraajh had not asked a single question on the problems of the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands in the two parliamentary meetings in the six months he was MP.
This despite the fact that Cameron Highands is the parliamentary constituency with the largest number of Orang Aslis in the country, followed by Tapan and Gua Musang. This is an example of his irresponsibility and negligence as MP for Cameron Highlands. Former Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib had said that Cameron Highlands by-election should be easy victory for the Barisan Nasional. Two questions arises: Firstly, is Najib still the leader of Barisan Nasional. Secondly, does Barisan Nasional still exist, as MCA wants the people to believe that Barisan Nasional is to be dissolved. May be the new MCA President, Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong can explain whether the MCA will help in the Barisan Nasional campaign in the Cameron Highlands by-election, as PAS has stated that it would help BN in the by-election campaign.
The battle against kleptocracy must be widened to include not only the kleptocrats but also the “enablers of kleptocracy” to ensure that the culture of integrity strikes deep root in Malaysia in our journey to transform a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity. The New Year of 2019 has only entered into the fourth day but it is pregnant with meaning for Malaysians who want to see the culture of integrity strike deep root in Malaysia in our journey to transform a global kleptocracy into a leading a nation of integrity, with the battle against kleptocracy widened to include a war not only against kleptocrats but also against the “enablers of kleptocracy”!
It is good to see that a top MCA leader has acknowledged the existence of “enablers of kleptocracy” in a media statement dated 1st January 2019, although the MCA leadership has still to pluck up sufficient political courage and patriotism to acknowledge that the ignominious chapter in the nation’s history where the country was condemned worldwide as a “global kleptocracy” was because MCA Ministers and leaders became “enablers of kleptocracy”, aiding and abetting former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the monstrous 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal and other 1MDB-line scandals in Felda, Felcra, Tabung Haji and MARA. Malaysians must adopt the attitude that governments can come and go, but the campaign to improve Malaysia’s integrity in the international community must continue relentlessly, as reflected in the various integrity indices, like the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.
This is why on final days of 2018, I had called for a step closer to closure of the monstrous 1MDB scandal and kleptocratic Malaysia with all who had aided and abetted Najib in his kleptocratic rule – including former Ministers and MPs – apologising to all Malaysians for being “enablers of Najib kleptocracy” instead of carrying the cross of being “enablers of kleptocracy” into the new year, like the MCA President Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong and the PAS President, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang. Furthermore, I had also urged all political parties and politicians, including MPs of the 13th Parliament, to return to public coffers any funding and donations they had received from the 1MDB scandal.
The first three days of 2019 had begun with a fantastic start with regard to the sacred task to implant the culture of integrity in Malaysia so as to transform Malaysia from a global kleptocracy into a leading nation of integrity. Firstly, there was continuing public debate and expression of shock by a widening circle of Malaysian society over Bersatu vice-president Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman’s call for the party to use government resources so that it can hold on to power “by hook or by crook”. I believe the overwhelming majority of Pakatan Harapan leaders and members do not want to hold on to power “by hook or by crook” or the Pakatan Harapan would be no different from Najib’s UMNO and Barisan Nasional. The year 2019 will be a test whether Pakatan Harapan government in Putrajaya is committed to electoral and institutional reforms to ensure that the culture of integrity strike deep roots in Malaysian society, and Malaysia is looked up as a model by the world in our commitment to accountability, transparency, integrity and good governance.
I fully support Bersih’s call for an Administrative Neutrality Act to deal with political patronage, as well as the abuse of government resources or public power for partisan purposes. Those who commit crimes should face criminal prosecution, while those who fail to justify their acts must be subject to administrative penalties, such as termination of service, demotion or transfer. Parliament should enact a Political Financing Control Act, as stated under Promise 18 in Harapan’s election manifesto, as a measure against the misappropriation and misuse of funds belonging to the government by political parties, as in the 1MDB scandal. Secondly, Malaysians can take heart from the Muar incident over the allegation of 30 per cent commission demanded by politicians over educational development allocations to schools, and the alacrity with which the Minister of Youth and Sports and MP for Muar, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, had acted in asking his office to lodge a police report over an individual claiming to be “an assistant of the Muar MP” and soliciting 30% commission for services.
Thirdly, the Court of Appeal decision yesterday upholding the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court decision on Feb. 19, 2016 jailing the former Pahang Umno Youth chief Datuk Mohd Mustafa Mohd Khalid for three years for cheating a managing director of a company of RM1 million over a Scanning System project. It is a clear and unmistakable signal that the era that politicians and political operatives can get away with corruption and bribery with immunity and impunity is over, and there is a new respect for the rule of law to maintain public integrity in Malaysia. Fourthly, and most important of all, the country will be holding a parliamentary by-election because we are entering a new phase where there must also be integrity in the electoral process, where there is no money politics and electoral offences in elections.
The Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election on January 26 will be the first of its kind, heralding that the country is committed to integrity in its public institutions and systems. The Camerons Highlands by-election should be between integrity as represented by Pakatan Harapan and kleptocracy as represented by Barisan Nasional. It was from the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands that I learn the term “roti canai” roads, ie. substandard roads, because of poor workmanship and corruption. These “roti canai” roads rapidly deteriorate as there is only a thin film of cement on top to hide the shoddy work. Let the Cameron Highlands signal the advent of a New Malaysia, where corruption and improprieties in any form are condemned and penalised. Is the Barisan Nasional prepared to enter into a pledge of public integrity in the Cameron Highlands by-election, highlighting the national resolve and commitment to instil a culture of integrity in public life including an unremitting war not only against kleptocracy but also against the enablers of kleptocracy in Malaysia in the past few years?
(Media Statement by DAP MP for Iskandar Puteri Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 4th January 2019)
Diversion of 30 per cent or any percentage of school allocation for any political purpose is sheer corruption and not permitted Pakatan Harapan practice but belongs to Barisan Nasional era of the past, and must be exposed and rooted out and individuals concerned punished according to the law and sacked if he holds any political office. Since 7 pm yesterday, the Sin Chew street edition had carried a shocking front-page expose of compulsory diversion of 30 per cent of school allocations in Muar allegedly by a special officer of an elected representative.
The diversion of 30 per cent or any percentage of school allocation for any political purpose is sheer corruption and not permitted Pakatan Harapan practice but belongs to Barisan Nasional era of the past, and must be exposed and rooted out and the individuals concerned punished according to the law and sacked if he holds any political office. There can be no compromise with such corrupt practices and those who are guilty of such corrupt practices, regardless of which Pakatan Harapan party they are from, must be prosecuted to the hilt without any mercy.