Lim Kit Siang : Najib had failed the Orang Aslis as Prime Minister

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?