BARISAN Nasional retains Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat in a by-election today. For Pakatan Harapan, it is a disaster for getting the Election Commission to nullify Sivarraajh’s victory in the 14th general election.
For Umno, especially, its candidate Ramli Mohd Nor, who himself is a Semai Orang Asli, is the right choice to humble Manogaran of Pakatan, a seasoned politician who gave a ‘stupid’ excuse for wearing a party’s shirt at the polling centre.
Its a boost for Umno after a series of unpleasant events after GE14, the exodus of MPs and senior members. Not that Cameron Highlands is its stronghold but the fact that Orang Asli voters have emerged as the ‘decider’ in the by-election, really prevailed.
Dr Mahathir’s statements during his campaign and at earlier ‘Umno-bashing’ functions, domestically and abroad, failed to help PH which saw a decline in vote tally. In the by-election, Manogaran garnered 8,800 votes to the 9,710 in May 9 2018.
Ramli secured a stunning 12,038 votes compared with Sivaraajjh’s 10,307 in GE14.
Dr M used to say that Umno is dead, non-existence and losing support. He has been streeing the PH government plagued with so many lame excuses, U-turns and undelivered promises. Cameron Highlands voters are showing them that the government has no more rooms to protect its weaknesses by blaming BN’s previous government.
His remark on Friday that voting BN would be deemed as being ungrateful to PH, is seen as a suicide. It wasnt PH who developed and championed the cause of Orang Asli all this while but the BN government.
Boasting that PH now holds the edge for having the Finance Ministry under its supervision, also failed to impress the voters. In fact, the Chinese and Indian votes increased tremendously for Umno as compared to the previous election.
What does this imply? That irrespective of who the candidate is, the utmost criteria is what can he or she offer to the electorates. Being an Opposition representative can sometimes ring a larger bell. DAP and PKR had proven it when they were on the opposite side.
Many unpleasant things took place along the 2-week campaigning period, mostly from PH. Even the Election Commission has been criticised for ‘allowing’ money-politics took place before them. PH was accused of threatening voters with ‘no votes, no pay’ remark by a Senator, and on Tok Batin who were warned to support Manogaran if they wanted to keep their titles.
The reported used of government vehicles by PH camp was another factor that erased people’s trust in its candidate.
Now, where is Lim Kit Siang, who issued a statement that a BN win in Cameron Highlands would pave Najib’s comeback to Putrajaya, and the blunder of wanting to fight for Orang Asli citizenship issue.
And Lim Guan Eng, Tony Pua and others who told Cameron Highlands voters that they might lose any financial assistance from Putrajaya if they opt for BN – it looks like it didnt’s sell. Orang Asli is well-educated now, who just want to see they own rep at the Parliament.
PH also used the AGC to slap Kelantan government with an Orang Asli cause, a tactic it hoped to influence Cameron Highlands by-election outcome. However, it faltered.
Ramli is perhaps the best choice for BN and Umno. Although MIC was given the seat allocation in the previous elections, the time has come for BN to compromise on selection of candidate. By having a local and winnable candidate should be a practice from now on.
Of course Pakatan has won the previous by-election, namely in Sungai Kandis, Seri Setia and Balakong but all this are state seats. Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat is an eye-opener for Putrajaya, who keeps harping on 1MDB, Felda and Tabung Haji issues to protect its poor-showing thus far, 8 months after winning the GE14.
In simple words, its time for Pakatan to give it a thought. They’ll come head to head with BN again in Semenyih and probably in Rantau.
As for PAS, they played an important role in Cameron by-election. Together with Umno, MCA and MIC, they form a formidable opposition pact which Pakatan should recognise fast!