Four-Cornered Fight in Cameron Highlands By-Election

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Barisan Nasional’s Ramli Mohd Noor, Pakatan Harapan’s M Manogaran and two independent candidates, Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib, submitted their nomination forms to the returning officer at the SMK Sultan Ahmad Shah here on Saturday (Jan 12).

Wong is a local farmer and activist while Sallehudin is a senior lecturer in Institut Aminuddin Baki Genting Highland.

In a surprising turn of events, myPPP president Tan Sri M Kayveas announced minutes before the nomination period ended he will not contest in the polls.

“I am a supporter of (Prime Minister) Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim (PKR president)…so with that, and with my long supporting ‘legitimate’ members I hereby announce that I will not be running as a candidate in this by-election.

“I will be openly and aggressively supporting Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) candidate,” he told reporters.

Kayveas added that the PH candidate could count on MyPPP to stand with them and bring their support to the ballot box.

He had lobbied to be the BN candidate in the last general election, but the seat was given to MIC’s C Sivarraajh.

Kayveas had earlier reportedly said he hoped to create more “excitement” in this by-election with his candidacy, claiming the party had 3,000 votes in hand.

He then said that his party decided to field him as it neither supported PH or BN.

“I have had a long relationship with Barisan Nasional. I remain close friends with some of the leaders, but that’s personal.

“However, the leaders did not appreciate my loyalty when they did not offer me any parliament seat during previous election. I accepted it and remained with Barisan.”I was also promised that I would get it next round. Then they went back to their traditional story and made excuses.

“What happens to the traditional story now?” Kayveas asked, referring to a deal between BN’s Indian component party MIC and Malay component Umno which saw the coalition field an Orang Asli pensioned policeman Ramli Mohd Noor as its candidate instead.

“Our loyalty has not been reciprocated,” said Kayveas to reporters.

Former Taiping MP from 2004 to 2008, Kayveas said the BN has a chance to keep its hold on Cameron Highlands – known as the country’s top produce farm.

“But as a local, I don’t see any changes. The environment being damaged, farmers are not getting fair deal and there are still land issues on the temporary occupation licences.

“So we give chance to PH now,” he added.

After announcing his withdrawal, Kayveas had a brief chat with both PH and BN leaders at the nomination centre.

He spoke with DAP’s M Kulasegaran, Anthony Loke, Gobind Singh Deo and BN’s Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.

This will be the fifth by-election to be called after the 14th general election (GE14).