Former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan has defended Pakatan Harapan candidate M Manogaran over the coalition's defeat in last Saturday's Cameron Highlands by-election.
She said the DAP man should not be blamed for the outcome and pointed out that he had been working in the constituency for years.
“Manogaran has been working tirelessly with the Orang Ali in Cameron Highlands for years. Working with no fanfare.
“He has helped many estate workers in legal cases through the years. Don't blame him for the loss,” she tweeted this afternoon.
Even before nomination day, Manogaran courted flak when he commented on the possibility of BN fielding Orang Asli candidate, Ramli Mohd Nor.
“BN's calculation is, they think… They really don’t understand. You see, the Malays don't even buy kuih from Orang Asli vendors. I don't think they will go all out and vote for an Orang Asli.
“The Malays will ask 'How come we don’t have a Malay candidate? How come you put an Orang Asli?' Chinese, Indians will not vote for the Orang Asli (as well),” he had told Malaysiakini.
Manogaran later apologised for his remarks.
On polling day, the Harapan candidate landed in trouble when he wore a shirt with the coalition's logo into a polling station, which led him to be escorted out by Election Commission officials.
He later apologised, claiming that he had worn the shirt without realising as he was in a rush.
However, electoral watchdog Bersih found the excuse to be flimsy, especially since Manogaran is a seasoned election campaigner and lawyer.
Yesterday, EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun said the commission has lodged a police report against the candidate.
Manogaran, who had contested the Cameron Highlands seat during two previous elections, was defeated by Ramli on Saturday in his third attempt to wrest the seat from BN.
Ramli won the seat with a majority of 3,238 votes after bagging 12,038 votes in total. Manogaran secured 8,800 votes.