BN Gave Money to Orang Asli Before GE14

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Three days before May 9 polls, BN money given to village heads witnessed by Pahang MB and Cameron Highlands MP.

Orang Asli village head Harun Siden from Pahang told the Election Court in Kuala Lumpur that Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates contesting in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary and Jelai state seats gave a total of RM2,100 to six village chiefs from various settlements to support the then ruling coalition.

The presentation took place several days before the May 9 polls, said Harun, a Tok Batin from Kampung Tual, Kuala Lipis.

He admitted he was one of the recipients of the RM300 that each head received. The money, he claimed, was given by the MIC’s C Sivarraajh, who won the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat, and Umno’s Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who won the Jelai state seat.

Harun said the money came from Sivarraajh, who gave it to another person who then distributed the cash to the village heads.

“Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh took a helicopter and landed near Kampung Tual, Pos Sinderut to attend a sukaneka (sports carnival) on May 6, this year.

Hafiz Yatim/Malaysiakini

“When the money was given, Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh were also present,” he said. 

Harun was testifying in an election petition filed by the DAP’s M Manogaran who is seeking to nullify the Cameron Highlands general election result on grounds of massive vote buying.

He added that the money was an inducement for the Orang Asli to vote for BN.

Harun was responding to questions from lawyer K Shanmuga, representing Manogaran.

“I remember the Cameron Highland candidate (Sivarraajh) told me and my fellow Tok Batins that he was a young candidate and was willing to work for the Orang Asli,” Harun said.

He also said Rosdy, the current Pahang menteri besar, told the village chiefs that they should vote for BN.

He told the court he heard that RM9,300 was given by Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh to a person by the name of Ahchah, from whom each of his villagers received RM50 from BN one day before polling day.

“I accepted the additional RM50 (from Ahchah) and was given a receipt with a serial number stipulating the polling centre, with the dacing (BN) symbol.

Asked by Sivarraajh’s lawyer Hafarizam Harun if he felt uncomfortable when he received the money from BN, Harun said that he was unsure if the money was a form of bribery at that time.

“In fact, this is the first time ever candidates came into our villages to campaign and distribute money. I didn’t know such money was bad,” he said, adding he only realised later that bribery was wrong.

Harun added he had used the money given by the BN to buy rice and other necessities, and spent the rest of the amount for the villagers.

Hafarizam then asked Harun whether he was “influenced” to vote for Sivarraajh and Wan Rosdy after accepting the money.

Harun kept mum, before replying: “who I voted for is a secret”, which drew laughter from the public gallery.

When pressed further, however, he replied that he is not a member of any political party.

Despite numerous challenges by Hafarizam, Harun stuck to his testimony that the money originated from Wan Rosdy and Sivarraajh, and denied that Manogaran had given out any money in his many visits to the village over the past five years.

Sivarraajh won with a 597-vote majority in a five-cornered fight involving candidates from the DAP, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PAS and Berjasa.

Earlier, Manogaran testified that he found out about the allegations of vote buying when he was doing a post-mortem on the Cameron Highlands’ election results.

“I was told by the Orang Asli that they were given RM50 each that was put in envelopes, with their names and identity cards on the papers,” he said.

Manogaran added that he lodged a police report on the alleged vote-buying.

He also told the court that bribery and corrupt practices by BN were rampant among the Orang Asli community there.

This had, therefore, prevented him from obtaining votes which in turn affected the outcome of the results for that constituency in the general election which he lost.

He claimed that Sivarraajh and Wan Rosdy had either directly or indirectly given thousands of ringgit to the village heads and Orang Asli during the campaign period between April 28 and May 8.

Besides Manogaran and Harun, some 35 Orang Asli are scheduled to testify during the petition hearing which has been fixed for two weeks from today.

The hearing continues on Thursday before High Court judge Azizah Nawawi.