MP SPEAKS | One question at the forefront of the minds of the voters of Cameron Highlands is why the former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, is positioning himself as the primary spokesperson for BN in the Jan 26 by-election.
Najib said in Pekan yesterday that he is confident that BN is confident of winning the parliamentary seat.
As the former premier, does Najib have no sense of shame that the by-election is being held because of money politics, vote-buying and corrupt electoral practices?
I have said that it would require a miracle for the Pakatan Harapan to win in Cameron Highlands, as the seat had always been one of BN's fortresses, as evidenced by the fact that it has never been won by any other coalition in the nation’s history.
But we are in the era of political miracles, starting with the historic result of the 14th general election on May 9, despite Najib’s supreme confidence of an easy victory – even for BN to win back its two-thirds parliamentary majority lost in 2008.
The by-election is, therefore, a second opportunity to prove Najib wrong – and this time, by the voters of Cameron Highlands.
It is regrettable that Najib is resorting to cheap and low-class politics, which required the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) director-general Ajis Sitin (photo) to issue a statement yesterday refuting the former prime minister's allegation that the Harapan government did not provide allocations for the Orang Asli community in Budget 2019.
Ajis said the Harapan government allocated RM100 million for the development and welfare of Orang Asli communities nationwide, and the focus will be on the construction and upgrade of roads to facilitate their daily activities to raise their socioeconomic status.
Najib also launched an attack on me for saying that the previous BN government had neglected the Orang Asli.
There can be no doubt that Najib, as prime minister for eight years, had failed the Orang Asli in the country by focusing on the 1MDB corruption and money-laundering scandal, as well as other scandals in Felda, Felcra, Mara and Tabung Haji, instead of bringing the community into the national mainstream of development.
Is Najib prepared to compare the total amount of public funds squandered in the 1MDB scandal and the other scandals with the total expenditure spent on Orang Asli development in his eight years in charge?
It is a crying shame that after six decades of Jakoa history, only about 30 percent of its staff and two Jakoa state directors are Orang Asli. By now, at least 70 percent of Jakoa staff and all state directors should be from the community.
There are 27 Orang Asli kampungs in the Cameron Highlands constituency, involving 1,637 families with a total population of 6,976 people.
If Najib had not focused his attention and energies on the 1MDB and other scandals – bogged down in corruption and abuses of power to such extent that Malaysia was condemned by the world as a “global kleptocracy” – and devoted more funding and resources for the development of the Orang Asli, the community in Cameron Highlands today would be in a better position.
Does Najib deny that in this modern age, where information travels at the speed of light, some 20 percent of the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands live without electricity?
Can Najib define what he understands as the meaning of the full success of Jakoa?
LIM KIT SIANG is the MP for Iskandar Puteri.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.