PETALING JAYA: PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called on party Senator Bob Manolan Mohamad to clarify the "threats" the latter allegedly made to the orang asli village headmen (Tok Batin) in Cameron Highlands recently.
“There is no coercion in a democracy. Bob has to clarify his statement immediately,” he wrote on Twitter on Friday.
Anwar was responding to a news report where Bob was quoted warning the village chiefs that they could lose their salaries and posts if they do not support Pakatan Harapan in the upcoming Cameron Highlands by-election.
However, Bob Manolan denied making such a threat to the Tok Batin.
He said that he was explaining to the orang asli village headmen to put aside political differences and work together with the federal government to better their villages in Cameron Highlands.
"I did not threaten them, it was a dialogue between the Tok Batin and one asked me about the salaries of the Tok Batin.
"I then explained that as the federal government pays the salaries of the Tok Batin, they would have to follow the agenda set out by the government.
"There are 18 Tok Batin in Pos Betau alone and some of them, being heads of Umno branches in their villages, have refused to attend the meetings held by government agencies (after GE14)," he said.
Bob Manolan added that he told the Tok Batin that they would have to choose between acting as a Tok Batin or as an Umno branch chief if they want to be helped by the federal government.
"I did not say that Tok Batin who do not support Pakatan Harapan will not get paid. That is not true."
Meanwhile, Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Azizan Harun said that only those with first-hand information should lodge a police report about the alleged electoral offence.
“Nobody should lodge a report if he or she does not have first-hand factual information on any incident.
“If anyone with second-hand story lodges a report, his or her statement to the authorities would be merely hearsay,” he told The Star when contacted.
Azhar, fondly known as Art Harun, said that the EC can only implore candidates and campaigners to comply with the Election Offences Act, as it does not have any investigative or prosecutorial powers.
Senator: I never threatened Tok Batin