CAMERON HIGHLANDS, Pahang: Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate Ramli Mohd Noor won the Cameron Highlands by-election on Saturday (Jan 26) with 12,038 votes, becoming the first Orang Asli member of parliament in Malaysia.
Voters had to choose from Mr Ramli, Pakatan Harapan's (PH) M Manogaran, and two independents, Wong Seng Yee and Sallehudin Ab Talib.
Mr Ramli, a former senior police officer, won with a majority of 3,238 votes.
Mr Manogaran gained 8,800 in total votes, Mr Wong had 276, and Mr Sallehudin had 314.
The votes were tallied after 5.30pm and by 6pm, the initial vote showed that BN was ahead at nine polling centres in Jelai.
At 8pm, BN was leading with 11,617 votes while PH was trailing behind with 7,048 votes.
Mr Manogaran conceded defeat before the official results were announced, and congratulated Mr Ramli.
Cameron Highlands has been a BN stronghold for over 60 years.
At the outset, PH acknowledged that it faced an uphill battle.
According to the Election Commission, Saturday's voter turnout was good, with the number close to its earlier anticipated figure of 70 per cent.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad helped out with the campaigning on the ground, telling voters that the United Malays National Organisation was a "broken party" with no future.
The by-election was triggered after the Election Court declared BN's victory in the May 2018 general election null and void due to corrupt practices to influence voters.
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Malays account for more than 33 per cent of the voters in Cameron Highlands, while the Chinese account for almost 30 per cent.
Orang Asli voters account for more than 21 per cent, while around 15 per cent were Indians.