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The significance of first orangasli MP

  • What is more meaningful than fielding an orangasli candidate if a party really cares for this community and their well-being? Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

As an independent commentator, I don't care which party wins the Cameron Highlands by-election.

However, I must still congratulate Ramli Mohd Nor for his election.

He is the first orangasli -- the aboriginal people of Peninsular Malaysia -- to step into the Dewan Rakyat.

According to estimates by anthropologists, orangaslis have been living here for almost 50,000 years, and are the veritable "Sons of the Land'.

And Cameron Highlands has the highest concentration of orangaslis in the whole of Malaysia.

We have the first orangasli representative after more than 60 years democratic electoral system has been practiced in the country.

As the ethnic group that has been here for tens of thousands of years, there has been very unfortunately a long-standing vacuum for them in this country's political development history. But now, these people finally get a chance to fill up the vacuum and write a page of their own that they have long deserved but been denied.

On January 26, 75% of orangaslis in Cameron Highlands voted for BN, not because "they thought Mahathir was still BN president" as Kak Wan claimed, but because they finally had a chance to choose a fellow Semai tribesman whose name Ramli Mohd Nor showed up on their ballot papers.

Sure enough BN had its own calculation for fielding an orangasli candidate. This aside, it is indeed a major breakthrough, and from the macroscopic point of view, it is a show of respect and accommodation for our pluralistic politics.

By comparison, the strategy of PH's candidate remained conservative and shortsighted.

As a political alliance that claims to represent the country's multiracial population, PH has failed to see the needs of orangaslis and has displayed a lack of accommodativeness for an insignificant minority.

What is more meaningful than fielding an orangasli candidate if a party really cares for this community and their well-being?

Other than from the "right" ethnicity, Ramli was also the "right" candidate.

He is not an Umno member; nor is he representing any other BN component party. He contested as a direct member of BN.

Such a background allows him to be relieved of the political burden of any of the component parties. Moreover, as a novice in politics, he has nothing which can be exploited by his opponents.

Whatever issue raised or religious and ethnic emotions triggered during the campaign would hardly have anything to do with Ramli.

And his experience in public services (he was formerly a senior police officer), his qualifications and capability are beyond doubt.

He shunned radical tactics in his campaign, and had no loud slogans to chant. In its stead, he moved around the constituency quietly, trying to build up a positive rapport with the voters through his amicability.

When people have already grown so frustrated with empty political talks, the only thing that will move their hearts is genuine man-to-man contacts

PH's Manogaran is an old-fashioned politician who can no longer appeal to the voters. He adopted a high profile campaign approach, and was frowned upon for the many inappropriate remarks he made.

What else could the voters expect from a candidate who had been twice defeated in the same constituency?

People have made all kinds of analyses based on their own reasoning, but at a time when neither BN nor PH could meet the aspiration of the rakyat, getting the right candidate is perhaps a crucial factor for a party's triumph or defeat.


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