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Anyone can be a role player

  • As one of the ethnic groups in this country, one that has actually been here longest and is most assimilated to this land, the orangaslis should be given an opportunity to play a bigger role. Photo courtesy: Bernama

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

The Cameron Highlands by-election may not matter too much to majority of Malaysians, save the orangaslis.

People are still making a big fuss over who this country's owners are, claiming they have been here for hundreds or even thousands of years.

But have they ever asked the orangaslis how long they have been here? They could have called this place home for tens of thousands of years!

Unfortunately, their number has been far too small -- only about 0.5% of the entire country's population -- to be numerically, economically and politically significant.

As such, no matter how long they have been here, they remain to be treated as transparent most of the time.

But, over a fifth of the voters in Cameron Highlands are orangaslis, 21.56% to be exact, most of whom from the Semai tribe.

These orangaslis have been sidelined for all the past elections, none having been fielded by any party despite a relatively high concentration of them there.

They are also thought to be very easily bought. Offer them some goodies and they will unhesitantly vote for you.

The by-election this time has been a result of court ruling of invalidity due to vote-buying by incumbent MP Sivarraajh.

The orangasli are kind and simple-minded, but have been repeatedly exploited.

It doesn't matter how much Cameron Highlands has changed due to growth in tourism and agriculture or how much wealth has been created there, the orangaslis still live their same impoverished life.

And it doesn't matter how many promises of change politicians have made in past election campaigns, the Semais are still struggling to make ends meet deep in the forests or on the fringe of towns, after the elections.

This time, Pakatan Harapan's candidate M Manogaran has cited his "kuih" analogy, saying the Malays will not vote for an orangasli or even buy kuih from them, when responding to the fact BN may be fielding an orangasli candidate there.

"The Chinese and Indians will not vote for an orangasli as well," he added.

What wrong have the orangaslis done that they will not get the votes of other ethnic communities? Why is PH so racist having called itself different from BN?

Manogaran even stressed that orangaslis can only survive with the help of the federal government, and that this sets them apart from the Chinese and Indians.

Manogaran later apologized for what he had said, but even that would not make up for his despise towards the orangaslis.

BN has its strategic consideration when fielding an orangasli candidate, which is the right thing to do on the basis of fair political participation for all races.

We currently do not have a peninsular orangasli representative in the Dewan Rakyat.

As one of the ethnic groups in this country, one that has actually been here longest and is most assimilated to this land, the orangaslis should indeed be given an opportunity to play a bigger role.

We don't need owners of this land, but role-players, who can hail from any ethnic community in this country, including the orangaslis.

 

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