COMMENT | The Cameron Highlands by-election has exposed the hypocrisy and double standards of Pakatan Harapan, in which its lawmakers have issued contradictory statements with attempts to cover up their unethical behaviour.
This only affirms that Harapan is increasingly disregarding the rules, ethics and expectations of the rakyat. Harapan resorted to intimidation, undue influence and corrupt practices forbidden by the Election Offences Act, 1954.
This repeated and disgraceful acts and tactics by Harapan leaders reflect their winning “by hook or crook” advocated by their leaders. This continued practice will only stain our democratic process, especially the Cameron Highlands by-election which was held on the very basis of disapproving such corrupt practices.
How can Harapan disregard what they had advocated, preached and promised so soon after the court’s ruling?
As what we can see from the news and social media, pictures depicting a woman wearing a Harapan t-shirt, handing out money to the Orang Asli at an event, have gone viral. This was later dismissed as petrol allowance by Arvind Bharet, assistant head of the Jelai Harapan operations centre and DAP veteran.
However, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had denied giving out money two days ago, and informed that people were assisted through the distribution of development grants.
Mahathir’s attempt to divert failed as he is obviously unaware that DAP has admitted to paying the money. Is Harapan resorting to lying in “broad daylight” now that they got away with lying in their election manifesto?
Secondly, Chiong Yoke Kong, the Tanah Rata campaign manager, has also admitted that these Orang Asli reached the destination by bus. He also asked: "What is wrong with a Harapan bus ferrying volunteers?"
There is no problem with a Harapan bus ferrying volunteers, of course. But the money given earlier was claimed to be the petrol allowance for volunteers. How can they take the petrol allowance when they arrived there by bus?
In order to rationalise its move of giving out money in the open, which constitutes an act of bribery, Harapan tries desperately to clarify, but each clarification only shows their increasing arrogance and disregard for the New Malaysia that the rakyat have voted in.
In the past, Harapan took the moral high ground to criticise BN, while dodging its own faults using another set of standards. This is hypocrisy of the highest order.
The Cameron Highlands by-election was initiated because of the Election Court’s ruling that the BN candidate had allegedly committed an act of vote-buying and bribery in the last general election. But now who is buying votes? It is very clear.
Based on the same moral high ground, we urge Harapan to withdraw from contesting in the by-election and return a clean and undisputed by-election to Cameron Highlands.
TI LIAN KER is MCA vice-president.
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