PETALING JAYA: The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0) has asked Pahang Mentri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail (pic)to clarify what he meant when he told the voters of Cameron Highlands that land matters came under the state government.
Bersih said it viewed the statement by Wan Rosdy, which was reported in a news portal, with grave concern as it meant he was reminding voters that as the Mentri Besar he had the power to decide on land matters.
“To a farming community such as Cameron Highlands, the security of land tenure is a matter of great importance as their livelihood depends on it,” it said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 23).
Wan Rosdy reportedly told an audience that he did not want to promise anything regarding Temporary Occupation Licences (TOL), except to say that the local farmers’ lot would improve compared to what it was now.
“I hope you all understand that we are all friends. We want to help, but you too must help.
"If we help each other that’s even better. But I don’t want to promise we can solve everything. You have to remember, if I can solve it, no problem! I will help,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
He also urged the crowd to vote for Barisan Nasional during polling day on Jan 26 because land matters were under the state government’s jurisdiction.
“Bersih 2.0 is of the view that political parties should not abuse their power as federal or state government to turn incumbency into a basis for patronage to discriminate against constituencies that did not vote for their parties.
“Governments have a responsibility to discharge their duties to all citizens without bias and carry out their duties based on clear criteria and existing policies,” it said.
Bersih said such remarks could be deemed to be undue influence, an election offence under Section 9 of the Election Offences Act 1954 or even an abuse of power as defined under Section 23(1) of the MACC Act 2009.
“Bersih 2.0 urges Wan Rosdy to immediately clarify his remarks and give assurance to voters in Cameron Highlands that he will carry out his duty as the Mentri Besar and work to resolve all outstanding issues, especially land issues, whoever gets elected on polling fay this coming Jan 26.
"Voters should not be subjected to such threat over their livelihood when casting votes,” it said.
The Cameron Highlands by-election set for Jan 26 will see a four-cornered fight between Barisan's Ramli Mohd Noor, Pakatan Harapan's M. Manogaran and two independent candidates, Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib.
The by-election was called after the Election Court declared Barisan's win null and void when they found there were corrupt practices committed to induce voters to vote.
The seat was won by Barisan in the 14th General Election, with MIC's Datuk C. Sivarraajh winning 10,307 votes against Manogaran's 9,710 votes.