Kit Siang: We paid 60 Orang Asli RM20 each, will BN reveal how much it spent too?

DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said 60 Orang Asli motorcyclists for Cameron Highlands Nomination Day were paid RM20 per head. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang said 60 Orang Asli motorcyclists for Cameron Highlands Nomination Day were paid RM20 per head. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 13 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has come clean over the travel reimbursement given to 60 Orang Asli motorcyclists for Cameron Highlands Nomination Day yesterday, saying they were paid RM20 per head.

The Iskandar Puteri MP has since challenged Barisan Nasional (BN) to also reveal its expenditure for mobilising its supporters, and also other spending during the by-election.

“We are not afraid of the truth as no vote-buying was involved,” Lim said in a statement.

“Is Barisan Nasional prepared to give a full public accounting of how many people it mobilised for the Nomination yesterday, and the total expenditure involved as well as to answer all queries on financial expenditures during the by-election?” he asked.

Lim said the woman in red t-shirt seen in the photos which have since been circulated on social media was a woman named Vanessa, a volunteer from DAP’s Impian Malaysia programme doing voluntary social work nationwide.

“She was placed in charge of the Orang Asli motorcyclists who came out from their various Orang Asli kampongs for the Nomination in Tanah Rata yesterday,” said Lim.

“There were 60 motorcyclists and she reimbursed them RM20 each per motorcyclist,” he added, saying there were also five more cars and four buses of Orang Asli that were not under her responsibility.

Lim also called on Cameron Highlands voters to report any vote-buying and corrupt electoral practices, and all candidates to make an instant full disclosure of the electoral expenditures when questioned, to make the by-election the cleanest election in history.

Arvind Bharet, assistant head of the Jelai Pakatan Harapan (PH) operation centre, has since said its campaign was simply “reimbursing” PH volunteers for petrol costs, and the spending was declared as part of election expense.

He said the volunteers had come to Tanah Rata on nomination day on bike from their homes in the interiors of the Pahang constituency.

Pictures of a woman in a PH shirt giving cash to other people wearing the same shirt have emerged on social media, sparking claims from Barisan Nasional leaders that the ruling coalition was engaged in bribery in the election.

Election watchdogs have previously said in their report on the 13th general election that bribery included cash, and travel allowances or reimbursements.