BN picks retired Orang Asli officer for Cameron Highlands

BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan speaks during a press conference at the Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur as Cameron Highlands candidate Ramli Mohd Noor looks on. — Picture by Hari Anggara
BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan speaks during a press conference at the Seri Pacific Hotel Kuala Lumpur as Cameron Highlands candidate Ramli Mohd Noor looks on. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Barisan Nasional (BN) announced former assistant police commissioner Ramli Mohd Noor as its candidate for the January 26 Cameron Highlands by-election.

In a press conference today, BN deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan confirmed rumours that the retired senior police officer from the Orang Asli community will contest the seat as a BN direct candidate.

“The candidate is a former civil servant with a good track record. He was a former senior police officer an assistant commissioner of police who just retired and has very good qualifications. He has a master’s degree and is currently preparing a thesis for his PhD.

“He is a local, his father is from the area and many Tok Batin (Orang Asli village chiefs) are related to him. This is the candidate we feel can give us the advantage because at this moment in time it is important to have a candidate that can carry the party.

“He is Ramli Mohd Nor, retired ACP and his last position in the force was commercial crimes assistant director,” said Mohamad.

The 60-year-old Ramli retired at the end of last year. He is currently studying for his doctorate in Business Administration.

The acting Umno president also thanked MIC and its president, Tan Sri S. Vigneswaran, for their magnanimity in allowing a direct BN candidate to contest the party’s traditional seat.

“There were Umno members who wanted us to take the seat from MIC. But I said no, that will be a betrayal of MIC. We will field a BN candidate. There are clauses that allow someone to be a direct BN member instead of its coalition party member,” explained Mohamad.

He also thanked the PAS leadership, which was represented by PAS vice-president Datuk Iskandar Samad and secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, for sitting out the by-election and for promising to support the BN candidate.

Mohamad or Tok Mat also said BN is very confident of winning the seat.

“We are 85 per cent confident of retaining the seat. We have to work hard and we are confident with ACP Ramli who is from the Orang Asli community there. I’m sure with ACP Ramli, the Orang Asli will give us 100 per cent support and they make up 22 per cent of the voters there.

“If we have 20 to 30 per cent of the Indian voters and five to 10 per cent support from the Chinese, we are guaranteed to win,” said Mohamad.

However, he expressed concern that the Orang Asli community might not be able to come out and vote in full force due to the location of their homes 20 to 30 km away from the polling centres.

Mohamad plans on approaching the Election Commission to request that the Orang Asli be allowed early voting.

The Cameron Highlands by-election came about after the Election Court annulled the voting result from the general election for vote buying.

This case was among the main reasons why MIC decided to sanction a direct BN candidate rather than its own party candidate.

Vigneswaran told reporters on the sidelines of the announcement that his party’s morale was hit by the ruling.

“Our confidence level for this fight has dropped by 50 per cent because of the Court’s decision, that’s why we are giving way.

“The truth of the matter is we need to put a candidate that can win. And with two Indian candidates, the percentage of Malays coming out and voting for Indians might not be there,” said Vigneswaran.