The fantastic four of Cameron Highlands by-election


KINIGUIDE | The Cameron Highlands by-election set for Jan 26 was triggered under unique circumstances as the Election Court declared it vacant after it was determined that corrupt practices led to MIC’s C Sivarraajh winning.

As the Election Commission (EC) also disallowed Sivarraajh from contesting there again, BN broke convention by giving the MIC traditional seat to a BN direct candidate, Ramli Mohd Nor who is of the Semai tribe in Cameron Highlands.

Meanwhile, Pakatan Harapan fielded DAP’s M Manogaran who had previously contested the seat twice and lost both times.

At the same time, a couple of independent candidates turned up on nomination day and submitted their documents to the EC, who declared all four of these people as the official candidates for the by-election.

Though disputed MyPPP president M Kayveas earlier announced he would be contesting in the by-election as well, he decided against running in the eleventh hour.

Here is a Malaysiakini guide to the candidates in the four-cornered Cameron Highlands by-election.

1. Ramli Mohd Nor (BN)

Ramli is the former Penang Commercial Crimes chief who in 2015 became the highest ranking Orang Asli police officer in the nation’s history.

The 60-year-old retired late last year as an assistant police commissioner based in Bukit Aman.

Ramli belongs to the Semai tribe, which forms the bulk of the Orang Asli communities in Cameron Highlands.

Umno acting president Mohamad Hasan said they had decided to field Ramli as a BN direct candidate as he is not a member of any party as well as to maintain the goodwill between the component parties.

Not only is Ramli from Cameron Highlands, Mohamad had said, but many of the tok batin (village chiefs) in the Orang Asli tribes in the area are his “cousins”.

2. M Manogaran (Pakatan Harapan)

The 59-year-old is a lawyer by profession as well as the Pahang DAP deputy chief.

He previously contested and won the parliamentary constituency of Teluk Intan in Perak in the 2008 general election.

After that, he ran twice in Cameron Highlands, in the 2013 and 2018 general elections, but was defeated both times by MIC candidates.

He was the one who filed an election petition after the 2018 general election, challenging the election result for the Cameron Highlands seat.

This election petition was what eventually caused this by-election to be triggered, after the Election Court determined that the petitioner had established beyond reasonable doubt that bribery happened during the election.

3. Wong Seng Yee (Independent)

Wong is a local farmer who was born and raised in Cameron Highlands.

The 40-year-old holds a master’s degree in agricultural science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the US.

He is also an activist involved in Cameron Highlands Agriculture Association (PPPCH), Cameron Highlands Flower Growers Association, and Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (Reach).

He decided to contest in this by-election despite the odds being stacked against him because he wants Cameron Highlands to be developed in a sustainable way and by contesting, he hopes to raise these issues to both the state and the federal governments.

Wong has also claimed that he is not a member of any political party. His logo in this by-election is of a gardening hoe.

4. Sallehudin Ab Talib (Independent)

Sallehudin is a retired teacher who taught for 20 years, including at a teacher’s training college before retiring.

The 61-year-old, who is married with six children, is the son of Felda settlers and to this day still resides at Felda Sungai Koyan 1.

Though he claims to be a member of a political party, he declined to divulge which one.

The retired teacher has a degree in political science as well as a master’s in education management and administration.

He said he decided to contest in this by-election because he wanted to highlight specifically the issues of army veterans, traditional Malay kampung areas, second generation Felda settlers as well as the social economy of the Orang Asli.

His logo in this by-election is a book.

This edition of KiniGuide was compiled by GERALDINE TONG.

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