Nik Aziz: High Orang Asli voter turnout draws suspicion

By FMT Staff

KOTA BAHRU:  An 83% voter turnout in the recent Galas by-election is an ‘unusual’ phenomenon given the fact that much of the polling centres were in the far interior where people were  ‘less savvy about politics,’ said Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

“It rarely happens in areas where the people are less savvy about politics. In Hulu Kelantan political awareness is still low,” he said.

The tightly fought Nov 4 by-election in Galas saw a ‘more than 90%’  voter turnout among the Orang Asli communities living in the interiors of Kelantan.

Commenting further Nik Aziz said: “It is indeed odd that there was a huge voter turnout in these interior areas compared to areas where political consciousness is high. Something is definetly not right.”

There were six polling centres catering for the Orang Asli and all noted a ‘high’ voter turnout.

Days before and after the Nov 4 polls, observers have blogged about the unprecedented number of buses at the Orang Asli polling centres.

One observer noted that the ‘buses were used to ferry Orang Asli who lived outside of Kelantan’ to vote in Galas because it was not possible to transport Orang Asli from the interior of Kelantan to the polling centres by bus.

“To do that you need a tough four-wheel drive to get into their settlements. No way a bus can go there,” said the observer adding that the large number of buses present at the centres did stir suspicion.

The observer also said since former assemblyman Chek Hashim Sulaima was hospitalised, the Orang Asli Affairs Department (JHEOA) had parked themselves in all the native settlements in preparation for a by-election.