Orang Asli village head tells court BN gave him RM300 before May 9 polls

Harun Siren, an Orang Asli village chief from Kuala Lipis, Pahang outside the High Court. He earlier testified in an election lawsuit by DAP against MIC.

KUALA LUMPUR: An Orang Asli village head from Pahang told the Election Court here that Barisan Nasional candidates contesting in the Cameron Highlands parliamentary and Jelai state seats handed a total of RM2,100 to six village chiefs from various settlements to support the then ruling coalition.

The presentation took place a few days before the May 9 polls, said Harun Siden, a Tok Batin from Kampung Tual, Kuala Lipis.

He said he was one of the recipients of the RM300 that each head received. The money, he claimed, was given by the MIC’s C Sivarraajh, who won the Cameron Highlands parliamentary seat, and Umno’s Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail, who won the Jelai state seat.

“Both of them came into our villages to campaign on May 6 with helicopters.

“I remember the Cameron Highland candidate (Sivarraajh) told me and my fellow Tok Batins that he was a young candidate and was willing to work for the Orang Asli,” he said in testifying in an election petition filed by the DAP’s M Manogaran who is seeking to nullify the Cameron Highlands general election result on grounds of massive vote buying.

Sivarraajh won with a 597-vote majority in a five-cornered fight involving candidates from the DAP, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, PAS and Berjasa.

Harun also said Rosdy, the current Pahang menteri besar, told the village chiefs that they should vote for BN.

“His exact words to us were ‘makan BN, tidur BN, dan mimpi BN’,” he said, drawing laughter from the public gallery.

He further said that each of his villagers also received RM50 from BN one day before polling day and the money was given to them in a “dacing” envelope.

Asked by Sivarraajh’s lawyer Hafarizam Harun if he felt uncomfortable when he received the money from BN, Harun said that he was unsure if the money was a form of bribery at that time.

“In fact this is the first time ever candidates came into our villages to campaign and distribute money. I didn’t know such money was bad,” he said, adding he only realised later that bribery was wrong.

Harun added he had spent the money given by the BN to shop for rice to distribute to his villagers.

Hafarizam then asked Harun whether he was “influenced” to vote for Sivarraajh and Wan Rosdy after accepting the money.

Harun kept mum, before replying: “who I voted for is a secret”.

Earlier today, Manogaran testified that he found out about the allegations of vote buying when he was doing a post mortem on the Cameron Highlands’ election results.

“I was told by the Orang Asli that they were given RM50 each that was put in envelopes, with their names and identity cards on the papers,” he said, adding that he lodged a police report on the alleged vote buying.

The hearing continues on Thursday before High Court judge Azizah Nawawi.