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Day 2: Ramli meets MCA grassroots at Brinchang hotel

Malaysiakini Team  |  Published:  |  Modified:

CAMERON POLLS DAY 2 | With nomination over and a total of four candidates announced for the Jan 26 Cameron Highlands by-election, contenders are now kicking into gear and hitting the campaign trail.

Malaysiakini brings you live reports of the campaigning on the ground.  


  • Ramli meets MCA grassroots at Brinchang hotel
  • If I win, it will not be based on bribery, vows Ramli 
  • Payments okay if declared as expenses - Bersih
  • Pahang Umno Youth lodges MACC report over 'handout'
  • EC chief urges witnesses to lodge report
  • No 'cash handouts', only reimbursements
  • MIC lodges report over 'cash handout' images
  • Manogaran makes his way into Ramli's home village
  • BN leaders mock alleged 'handouts'
  • 'Make history, elect first Orang Asli rep from the peninsula'
  • 'Triggered by the death of integrity'

9.30pm: This concludes our live coverage of the Cameron Highland by-election campaigning for today. Follow our live blog for the third day of campaigning tomorrow.

Ramli meets MCA grassroots at Brinchang hotel

9.20pm: Hotel Titiwangsa - It's a quiet night in Cameron Highlands on the campaign front.

Pakatan Harapan campaigners take a respite after a whirlwind series of events since yesterday.

Meanwhile, BN candidate Ramli Nor Mohd has only one event here tonight.

Ramli is meeting with MCA grassroots, where MCA president Wee Ka Siong is also present.

This is one of the few events in which Ramli is making public. He has been discreet in his campaigning and will continue this pattern tomorrow. None of his schedule for tomorrow is open to the media.

If I win, it will not be based on bribery, vows Ramli 

6.30pm: Kampung Sg Ruil, Brinchang - BN candidate Ramli Mohd Nor says if he wins this by-election, it will not be based on bribery.

This is in response to the viral photographs depicting a woman wearing a red Pakatan Harapan T-shirt giving out money.

“I do not need to give out money. If I am elected, it will not be based on bribery.

“It will be because I sincerely want to represent (the rakyat) and to convey their feelings,” Ramli tells reporters after a meet-and-greet session with the Orang Asli residents here.

Let the authorities investigate it since a police report has been lodged, says the former Penang Commercial Crimes chief.

He stresses again that he is not a “parachute candidate from Teluk Intan” and that Cameron Highlands is his hometown.

DAP’s candidate M Manogaran was the Teluk Intan MP in 2008. 

No offence in reimbursing petrol expenses - Bersih

6.10pm: Petaling Jaya - It would not be an election offence for political parties to reimburse petrol expenses for their campaign volunteers, says Bersih chairperson Thomas Fann.

This is if it is properly declared as part of the candidate's election expenses, he tells reporters in Petaling Jaya when asked about Pakatan Harapan's explanation for images of cash being handed out to the coalition's operatives that have been circulating on social media platforms.

"No, no. It is not (an offence). The people are volunteers themselves and they need petrol money, food, and accommodation. All these have to be recorded in as part of a candidate's expenses within the RM200,000 (campaign spending) limit," he says.

Pahang Umno Youth lodges MACC report over 'handouts'

5pm: Merlin Inn Cameron Highlands - Pahang Umno Youth lodges an MACC report over the viral photographs depicting a woman wearing a red Pakatan Harapan T-shirt allegedly handing out money.

“We want to remind them (Harapan) that this by-election was not necessary but it happened because Harapan claimed C Sivarraajh committed an offence under the Elections Act.

“This thing (handing out cash) should not have been done by Harapan because they are the ones who filed a petition to cancel out (MIC’s) Sivarraajh’s win,” says Pahang Umno Youth chief Mohd Farid Mohd Nor to reporters after lodging the MACC report.

He then urges the MACC to look into this matter to determine whether there were elements of bribery in the incident. 

EC chief urges witnesses to lodge report

4.40pm - Election Commission chief Azhar Azizan Harun urges witnesses to lodge a report with the relevant authorities with regard to photographs of Harapan operatives distributing money in Cameron Highlands.

"If you have direct knowledge of what had happened when the pictures were taken and in what context those pictures were taken, it is your duty to lodge a report with MACC or the police as the case may be.

"They will investigate and if the matter goes to court, there might be a finding of fact," he says on Twitter.

Azhar says that it would be difficult for him to lodge his own report, as he does not have direct evidence, and can only refer to the images circulated on Twitter.

Harapan's campaign team had clarified earlier the cash handout was reimbursement for party volunteers.

No 'cash handouts', only reimbursements

3.15pm: Pakatan Harapan has explained that they were merely giving out reimbursements in viral pictures of money being handed out to people dressed in Pakatan Harapan T-shirts on social media today.

“I want to stress that was reimbursement money for the petrol costs for Harapan volunteers who came to Tanah Rata on their own motorbikes from their houses in the interiors on nomination day.

Read more: Harapan: ‘Cash handout’ images just volunteers being reimbursed

"These reimbursements will be declared as part of our campaign spending,” says Arvind Bharet, the assistant to the Jelai Harapan operations chief.

The statement was later confirmed as official by the Harapan Cameron Highlands by-election campaign manager.

Meanwhile, in a press conference an hour earlier, Harapan candidate Manogaran had said he would investigate the matter. 

MIC lodges report over 'cash handout' images

3pm: Tanah Rata police station - MIC Youth member P Ruben lodges a police report against Pakatan Harapan candidate M Manogaran over images of money being handed out to people dressed in Pakatan Harapan T-shirts.

“These images suggest that the ruling party is introducing elements of vote buying and money politics to attempt to influence the by-election,” the report reads.

Read more: Police urged to probe 'cash handout' images

He also alleges that Manogaran and Tanah Rata assemblyperson Chiong Yoke Kong had gifted a lawnmower to two Orang Asli just before the 14th general election last year.

Ruben urges the police, the Election Commission and the MACC to take the appropriate action on both these "election offences."

Manogaran makes his way into Ramli's home village

1.30pm: Pos Menson - Pakatan Harapan candidate M Manogaran makes his way into Ramli Mohd Nor's home village in Pos Menson, just a day after the BN candidate was feted there.

Manogaran and his team make their way further into Pos Menson, however – stopping at Kampung Sungai Relong, the last village accessible by roads, with Ramli holding his programme yesterday in Kampung Menson, just a short drive in from the main road.

Only red Harapan flags are seen in the village. 

Manogaran makes his way to the Harapan operations room, a bamboo house built on stilts, before making his rounds in the village, meeting and greeting the Orang Asli villagers.

BN leaders mock alleged 'handouts'

12:00noon: Umno MP Bung Moktar Radin tweets an image of a woman in a red Pakatan Harapan T-shirt counting money in front of a group of men.

“This isn’t money politics, the woman was just giving duit minum (money for drinks).

“Wait until its polling day, that is when they will give more money.

“Now they are just testing the mood of the young people, to see if they can be bought before they go into fourth gear,” he writes.

Read more: BN leaders mock 'cash handout' images

Incumbent Cameron Highlands MP C Sivarraajh – whose own GE14 win was voided due to vote-buying – also takes to Twitter to state that such practices do not matter because Harapan is in power.

"If we even hold a kenduri (banquet) for our machinery, it will be a big offence and we won’t be able to vote for five years.”

Joining in is BN parliamentary leader Khairy Jamaluddin, who tweets in jest that the men in the images simply wanted small change to “buy strawberries in Cameron Highlands.”

Malaysiakini understands DAP is meeting over these images and will issue a statement soon. 

Pahang MB urged to extend farmers' land leases

10am: Tanah Rata - At a press conference, Deputy Agricultural and Agro-based Industry Minister Sim Tze Tzin urges Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail to grant local farmers 30-year land leases.

The agricultural sector will not develop if land issues in Cameron Highlands are not resolved, he says.

Sim tells reporters that the future of the town depends on three main sectors – modern agriculture, agrotourism and agro-based industries. 

He also suggests that Cameron Highlands' famous strawberries take the place of potato chips. 

"Fresh strawberries spoil in a few days. If these can be processed into dried strawberries, they can replace potato chips.

"Don't people want to take care of their bodies these days? It can also be slimming for women," he quips.

'Make history, elect first Orang Asli rep from the peninsula'

9am: Tanah Rata - BN candidate Ramli Mohd Nor is making his rounds meeting and greeting voters at a row of food shops close to the main road in Tanah Rata.

Speaking to reporters after, he stresses that Peninsular Malaysia has never had an elected Orang Asli representative in Parliament, and urged voters to change this.

"Let Malaysia make history (and have) a representative of the rakyat, elected by the rakyat, to speak up for the rakyat in Parliament," he says, adding that he will speak up for Orang Asli issues if elected.

He also points out that senators representing Orang Asli issues in the Dewan Negara are all appointed and not elected.

'Triggered by the death of integrity'

12am: Felda Sungai Koyan 3 - To Dusun Tua assemblyperson Edry Faizal Eddy Yusof, this by-election differs slightly from the four held since the general election last year.

Whereas the previous by-elections were triggered by the deaths of their incumbents, Edry says, the coming polls are being held due to the "death of integrity."

"Before, the by-election was held because they (the incumbents) died, but this time it's because of the death of integrity.

"The scales (BN logo) are unstable – tipping to the left and right. We see a lot of their lawmakers quitting and becoming independents. 

"So why choose instability and an unclear direction?" he asks during an introductory session with Pakatan Harapan candidate M Manogaran at the Felda outpost.

Read more: The fantastic four of Cameron Highlands by-election


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