KUALA LIPIS — Deputy Prime Minister and Pakatan Harapan (PH) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail today urged the Orang Asli to vote for PH in the Cameron Highlands by-election on Saturday to change the fate of the indigenous people for the better.
She said the votes they had given to the Barisan Nasional (BN) over the past 60 years had not translated into much change for the better for the community.
Dr Wan Azizah said that if Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, a BN leader at one time, could join PH, there was nothing wrong for the Orang Asli to express their support for the new government.
“We want support. I have come here to garner support. Give your support to us and the PH candidate. I know that the Orang Asli here have problems associated with native customary rights and the ‘tok batin’ (chiefs) have much power. So, we can consider ways to step up the Orang Asli participation in development,” she said.
Dr Wan Azizah made the appeal in the presence of about 100 Orang Asli during a visit to the PH operations room in Dusun Pak Senam near here.
Also present were Pahang PKR chairman Fuziah Salleh and Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon.
Dr Wan Azizah also attended three social programmes in the Jelai state constituency, which is located within the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency, before heading to Tanah Rata.
At a meeting with the Orang Asli in Pos Pantoi/Lanai, she urged the voters there to support the PH candidate to ensure progress and development.
“Orang Asli require economic progress. Vote PH to ensure development,” she said.
Dr Wan Azizah said that though the Orang Asli were close to nature, they also needed development.
“Orang Asli have to protect the environment, but they also need development,” she said.
She visited the homes of three Orang Asli families who offered her durians and rambutans.
The PH candidate for the Cameron Highlands by-election is M. Manogaran of the DAP. He is involved in a four-cornered contest with Ramli Mohd Noor of BN and two independents, Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib.
Polling is on Saturday.
The by-election is being held following the Election Court’s nullification of the victory of Datuk C. Sivarraajh of BN in the 14th general election due to vote-buying.