By Annabelle Lee

CAMERON POLLS | Several Orang Asli village chiefs (Tok Batin) condemned a PKR senator over his warning that their salaries and posts are at stake if they do not support Pakatan Harapan as the federal government.

Speaking to Malaysiakini after the event, Kampung Tanjung Belida chief Apam Pak Adui said senator Bob Manolan Mohd had belittled the chiefs and was not fit to be a leader.

“How can he be a leader? What he said belittled Tok Batin. If he had challenged me to quit, I would have quit today. And I won’t go to vote.

“I have my own farm and I can earn a living. I do not need to beg from anyone,” he fumed.

During a dialogue with the chiefs from 18 Semai villages in Pos Betau this morning, Bob Manolan said the Tok Batin could lose their posts and salaries if they did not support the Pakatan Harapan candidate.

Meanwhile, Kampung Chekai chief Karim Andung also criticised the warning.

“If they really want to help the Orang Asli, they shouldn’t talk like that. We are so angry, is this how they want to help us?” he asked when met after the dialogue.

Karim contended that it was the government which needed the help of the Tok Batin.

“If there are no batin, how will the government know who to go to when they want to call Orang Asli for their programmes?” he asked.

Kampung Jelengok representative Rangan Pak Chongkel (photo) maintained that it was their right to choose the candidate of their choice.

“We will go to events by the state government, as well as the federal government.

“Yes, our allowances are paid by the federal government through the Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa), so we have to show our faces (at government events).

“But they can’t see (what is in) our hearts for this by-election. Our votes are secret,” he added.

The Orang Asli make up about 20 percent of the Cameron Highlands electorate.

Harapan is fielding DAP’s M Manogaran, who lost to the former MP from MIC C Sivarraajh by less than 600 votes in the last general election, whereas BN’s candidate is a local Orang Asli and former assistant commissioner of police, Ramli Mohd Noor.