IPOH, Jan 18 ― Datuk Seri Najib Razak today refuted claims that he has not helped the Orang Asli in Cameron Highlands.

The former prime minister and ex-Barisan Nasional (BN) leader pointed out that his administration had rebuilt a village after a 2011 landslide, besides providing a water treatment project and other programmes for the indigenous in Cameron Highlands.

“Lim Kit Siang said I didn't help or met the Orang Asli community in Cameron Highlands before. Let me remind him that in 2011, a landslide incident in Perkampungan Orang Asli Sungai Ruil killed seven people and two were badly injured.

“Many houses were destroyed and buried under the mud. The houses needed redevelopment and I immediately approved the budget worth RM44 million for the project to rebuild the village,” he said in a speech during his visit to the Sungai Ruil village today in the Cameron Highlands by-election.

The Pekan MP also said that he personally visited the Orang Asli village in 2016 to inspect the progress of the project.

“Maybe Pakatan Harapan (PH) were sleeping or they skipped the Parliament session, that's why they did not know about Barisan Nasional’s (BN) contribution to the Orang Asli,” he posted on his Facebook page hours after visiting the Orang Asli village.

Najib also said that in every year's budget, there would be an allocation for Orang Asli during his tenure as prime minister.

“In 2017, I had announced a water treatment project worth RM222 million for 42 Orang Asli villages, as well as economic development and entrepreneurship programmes, and village resettlement.

“Village chiefs from Negeri Sembilan and Selangor attended the parliament session in  2017 when I tabled the budget,” he said.

Najid advised PH leaders not to follow Lim in questioning the contributions BN had given the Orang Asli.

Najib has been actively campaigning for BN candidate Ramli Mohd Noor in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary by-election. He extended his two-day stint to four days. 

In his recent Facebook posts, Najib has been sharing pictures of him being friendly with the Orang Asli community he visited in Cameron Highlands. He also shared live videos of him visiting the villages.

In yesterday's post, Najib was seen greeting an Orang Asli elderly person, embracing an Orang Asli, besides taking a group picture.

Ramli is facing off against PH’s M. Manogaran and two independent candidates Sallehudin Ab Talib, a senior lecturer in Institut Aminuddin Baki Genting Highland, and Wong Seng Yee, who is a local farmer and activist.