Less than 36 hours from the time of writing, Cameron Highlands will see a new Member of Parliament. This needless-to-be-held by-election comes hot off the heels of the disqualification of the then winning MP, Datuk Sivarraajh Chandran on allegations of vote-buying and intimidation. Datuk Sivarraajh who had contested under the BN banner, denied the allegations, but the High Court held its ground, despite contradicting testimonies from the witnesses.
The election will see DAP candidate Manogaran going against BN’s Ramli Mohd Noor. However, it seems more like the whole of the Pakatan Harapan machinery going against Dato’ Sri Najib alone.
The campaign had started earnestly. Seeking to drive a wedge between UMNO and MIC, Lim Kit Siang had tried to portray that UMNO would not be giving way to MIC to contest in this by-election, while Manogaran, seeking to tar UMNO as a Malay supremacist party by claiming Malays don’t buy kuih from Orang Asli, was sent reeling when MIC decided to give way to UMNO, who decided to field Ramli, a retired high ranking police officer and an Orang Asli instead.
Despite the initial setback, Pakatan Harapan machinery went into overdrive, with ministers making their way to the hilly resort, once famous for the missing former Special Operations Executive spy, of whom Ian Fleming’s 007 character was based on.
The campaign made an interesting turn when former Prime Minister DS Najib joined the campaign rub. Rub as in literally, he had rubbed nearly each and every minister for their seeming inability to bring results.
This indirectly resulted in PH losing focus and begin targeting DS Najib, instead of campaigning properly. Countless attacks had been launched against DS Najib, instead of addressing issues that would be critical on the ground.
It must be infuriating for them to see DS Najib getting away with his trolling on them.
With the Election Commission currently being solely helmed by a Pakatan Harapan friendly individual, change in voting hours have further angered the public against Pakatan Harapan, and DS Najib had skilfully played these issues to his advantage.
Regardless of the result for tomorrow’s by-election, a win by BN will be seen as an endorsement of DS Najib. While a loss would only further alienate Pakatan Harapan government from the very people that had supported them to power.