Tian Chua is­sues apol­ogy to Orang Asli over se­na­tor’s re­marks

New Straits Times - - NEWS -

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’.”

Tian Chua

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