Vote For Pn As Harapan Gave You Zero Deputy Minister Tells Orang Asli
An Umno deputy minister yesterday told a group of Orang Asli in Negeri Sembilan that they should vote for Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the next general election, as Pakatan Harapan had allegedly given the group “zero budget” when it was in power.
Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Zahidi Zainul Abidin in his speech at an Orang Asli village in Ulu Beranang claimed that the then Harapan government had neglected the Orang Asli and rural folks because they were staunch supporters of BN and PN.
“The rural folks were always taken care of by people’s representatives from BN. Before this, it was Zakaria from BN, he took care (of Orang Asli).
“So before this it was BN, and now the government is Pakatan Nasional (sic). This Pakatan Nasional (sic) government is not like the Harapan government.
“During Harapan’s time as the government, the budget for rural areas was zero. Budget for Orang Asli and rural folks was zero. Low.
“Because of what? Because many of the rural folks are supporters of the government. BN and Pakatan Nasional. They do not support Harapan. So Harapan only won in the cities. The 50 seats that DAP won were all in the cities,” Zahidi said in his speech, based on a recording shared with Malaysiakini.
The deputy minister was attending a programme called 'Jelajah Pembudayaan Literasi ICT dan Khidmat Komuniti Masyarakat Orang Asli' (ICT Literacy Tour and Orang Asli Community Service Programme), held at Kampung Orang Asli Jeram Kedah, which is located in Seremban.
It is understood that the “Pakatan Nasional” mentioned by Zahidi was a slip of the tongue, and he was actually referring to the current PN federal administration.
The Umno supreme council member added that BN and PN, however, had never discriminated against rural areas in their budget allocation regardless of their choice of political parties.
“Although an area is a DAP area, if there are rural folks there, we would still give. Because when we were in power, the budget for rural areas was among the highest.
“When I was with Risda (Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority), the government allocated RM165 million to give one-off assistance to rural folks who are in debt, among others. This is different, this is great.
“So, gentlemen, when the election comes, support PN,” he said.
Malaysiakini has reached the office of Rina Harun and R Sivarasa, who were the minister and deputy minister in charge of rural development during the Harapan government, for their comments on Zahidi's claims.
A request for response had also been sent to the former minister in the Prime Minister's Department (national unity and social wellbeing), P Waythamoorthy.
For the record, during the 22 months Harapan was the federal government, the portfolios for rural affairs and Orang Asli were divided between the Rural Development Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Department.
Checks on the Finance Ministry’s website found that the government had allocated over RM5.4 billion development budget for the Rural Development Ministry for 2019, and RM5.2 billion for 2020.
For Orang Asli, some RM111 million was allocated for the Orang Asli Development Department (Jakoa) in 2019, and RM113 million in 2020. - Mkini
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