PETALING JAYA: M Manogaran, Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for Cameron Highlands hit out at his Barisan Nasional rival, Ramli Mohd Nor for not showing up for a debate tonight, despite the latter saying earlier he would not take part in it.
The debate, organised by election watchdog Bersih 2.0, revolved around issues faced the constituents.
The other two candidates – independents Sallehuddin Abdul Talib and Wong Seng Yee – were present.
Manogaran said it was disappointing for Ramli not to show up.
“I think he is not brave. He should not be a candidate. He may not even be in Parliament (if he wins),” he said during the debate, held in Cameron Highlands.
Ramli had earlier this month said he saw no point in having a debate and would not be turning up.
The debate, moderated by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s (UKM) associate professor Faisal S Hazis, touched on the rights of the Orang Asli, environmental issues and corruption.
Manogaran stressed the importance of sustainable development in all sectors, including tourism, farming, transportation, education and health.
He said the federal government was responsible for helping residents in Cameron Highlands to progress whether he won or lost.
“But if I am the MP, I will knock on their (Putrajaya’s) door harder,” he said.
Managoran said he would make sure Orang Asli land was protected and expressed disappointment over BN’s tactics of “playing the race and religious card” to win votes.
Sallehuddin raised concerns over social issues in Cameron Highlands, saying Felda settlers were trapped in debts passed on by their first generation.
He said Orang Asli children should be given proper education to end the vicious poverty cycle.
Wong said Cameron Highlands needed a proper policy to protect the environment and to help farmers progress.
He said the majority of the 2,200 farmers had to pay to renew their leases and were unable to invest in new farming technology.
He wanted the state and federal governments to come to a win-win situation to end the problems faced by the farmers and the Orang Asli.