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.
Peguam Syahredzan Johan membantah penahan Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO, Lokman Adam mengikut Akta Hasutan. Menurut Setiausaha Politik kepada Ahli Parlimen Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang itu, ada banyak akta lain boleh digunakan terhadap Lokman. “Sekiranya benar Lokman Adam ditahan polis di bawah Akta Hasutan, saya bantah penahanan beliau bawah Akta drakonian ini. Ada banyak Akta lain yang boleh digunakan untuk ambil tindakan terhadap Lokman Adam,” katanya yang dikenali lantang menuntut Akta Hasutan dimansuhkan.
Dalam kenyataan semalam, Pemantau Malaysia Baru berkata Lokman ditahan oleh polis bagi membantu siasatan berhubung dakwaan kerajaan Pakatan Harapan cuba melindungi pembunuh anggota bomba Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim. Ia bagaimanapun masih belum mendapat pengesahan polis.
Kemenangan Pakatan Harapan (PH) pada Pilihan Raya Kecil (PRK) Cameron Highlands yang bakal berlangsung pada 26 Januari nanti akan membuka peluang untuk gabungan itu merampas pentadbiran Kerajaan Negeri Pahang pada Pilihan Raya Umum ke-15 (PRU15). Menurut Ahli Parlimen Iskandar Puteri, Lim Kit Siang, jika calon PH M Manogaran dari DAP berjaya merampas kerusi tradisi MIC itu, kemungkinan besar Kerajaan Negeri Pahang yang kini ditadbir Barisan Nasional (BN) tumbang dalam PRU empat tahun lagi. “Tidak mudah untuk menawan Kerajaan Negeri Pahang, tetapi, ia mampu dilakukan seperti mana tidak mudah menawan Kerajaan Persekutuan di Putrajaya namun Pakatan Harapan berjaya melakukannya.
“Justeru itu, PRK Cameron Highlands adalah tirai pembuka kepada pertempuran hebat untuk merampas kuasa pentadbiran negeri Pahang pada PRU seterusnya yang bakal berlangsung dalam tempoh empat tahun akan datang,” kata dalam kenyataan, hari ini. Manogaran bakal berdepan calon BN iaitu bekas pegawai kanan polis, Ramli Mohd Nor, yang merupakan Orang Asli beragama Islam dari suku Semai dan Presiden MyPPP Tan Sri M Kayveas. Bagi sesetengah pihak, kata Kit Siang, UMNO tidak mungkin akan tewas di Pahang, namun perkara sama diperkatakan mengenai PRU14 yang menyaksikan parti itu tewas di peringkat Persekutuan. “Namun hanya lapan bulan lalu, adalah sesuatu yang tidak diduga yang UMNO akan hilang kuasa di peringkat Persekutuan dan jawatan Perdana Menteri, namun kedua-dua peristiwa itu berlaku,” ujarnya.