Tian Chua issues apology to Orang Asli over senator’s remarks
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice-president Tian Chua has apologised to the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands after a senator from his party allegedly threatened village chiefs to support Pakatan Harapan in the by-election.
Tian Chua said PKR did not endorse coercion, threats or enticement of voters in elections.
“I urge leaders to be cautious and sensitive to public sentiments, as well as be mindful of the law during campaigning. I would like to apologise to the Orang Asli who were offended by thoughtless statements made by our leaders.”
He said he hoped polemics and rhetoric would end.
“Let’s focus on the people’s interests and use a fair platform to achieve victory for the sake of the country.”
He said PKR respected the rights of village chiefs and the Orang Asli to support any party.
“Village chiefs, community leaders and civil servants are free to vote. Federal funding or appointments should not stop recipients from supporting the party of their choice.”
On Friday, Bob Manolan Mohd courted controversy after he allegedly threatened the Orang Asli during a dialogue in Pos Betau, Jelai.
He is alleged to have said that the Tok Batin (village heads) might lose their salaries and positions if they did not support PH.
Pahang Umno Youth had lodged a report against him for allegedly threatening the Tok Batin.
Bob Manolan, however, denied making such a statement although an audio recording has surfaced.
In the recording, a person is heard saying: “Jadi batin ini memang dibayar oleh Kerajaan Pusat. Maka itu, batin kena sokong Pakatan Harapan. Tak sokong, kita buang. Mana batinbatin yang tak sokong kerajaan, kita tak bayar gaji dia. Betul! Jangan bayar gaji dia. Kita bayar gaji dia, dia tak sokong kita. Buat apa kita bayar gaji dia?” (The batin are paid by the federal government. So they have to support Pakatan Harapan. If they don’t support (PH), we will get rid of them. Batin who don’t support the government, we will not pay them! Don’t pay their salaries. We pay their salaries... don’t support us, why should we pay their salaries?)
Despite Tian Chua’s apology, DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang said Bob Manolan had not threatened the Tok Batin.
The DAP adviser said his party representatives had confirmed that no such threats were made.
“I have checked with DAP leaders, namely Deputy Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, Bentong MP (member of parliament) Wong Tack, Sabah Senator Adrian Lasimbang and Ketari assemblyman Young Syefura Ahmad who were at the dialogue.
“They said no threats were issued to the Tok Batin.”
He said if Bob Manolan had made threats against the Tok Batin, it would be an election offence, something which PH leaders would not do as “Harapan will not copy the Umno-BN politics of threats and corruption”.
Lim’s statement drew criticism from news portal Malaysiakini readers.
One of them, who goes by the handle ANONNON, said Lim should not start compromising his principles in his twilight years.
Commenter Berani Kerana Benar said the DAP leaders mentioned by Lim “should all have their hearing checked”.
Another, going by the handle Quo Vadis, said he was disappointed with Lim’s response.
“When we voted for Pakatan Harapan, it was with the belief that ethics, morality and transparency will authenticate policies but the cynics argued that it would always be political expediency that would govern ethics, morality, accountability and resolution of what was right and wrong.”
Ubi-Wan Keledek joined in, saying: “Uncle Lim is either losing his hearing, or losing his integrity. This is a sad day for the so-called ‘New Malaysia’.”