MUHYIDDIN TO NOT DEFEND PAGOH IN PRU14?
TTDI, 15 Aug: I was at a restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail this morning, flipping through the various whatsapp group chats while trying to enjoy the authentic Johor lontong the restaurant is famous for. Trending this morning was talk that Muhyiddin Yassin, president of the new Pribumi Bersatu opposition party, might not be defending his Pagoh seat but will instead go to Muar, which has more Chinese than Javanese constituents, where the axed DPM should ensure his survival and, at the same time, send to oblivion the incumbent Razali Ibrahim, a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
But not out of choice, according to one whatsapp theory.
Talk is that Abang Din's support in Pagoh is waning fast, that he's virtually on his own, and if the general election is held next year he may lose! I've no way of confirming or challenging such talk, of course, but I've always thought he was hugely popular in Pagoh, just as popular as PM Najib Razak should be in Pekan, Pahang, perhaps. Would people close to him just walk away and distance themselves from him because he had decided to form a new party and ditch Umno? Obviously they would. Especially if these people revere Umno as a "parti keramat". And people of Pagoh, the constituent that Muhyiddin has served since 1978, revere Umno.
After a while, I realised that Muhyiddin was in the house, having breakfast (perhaps the same authentic lontong I had just finished) with his wife and a mutual friend (and wife). I walked up to the Tan Sri and gave my salams. "Waalaikumsalam. Hey Rocky, sorry ... didn't realise it was you in this outfit". I looked down at my lycra and told him that I was planning to ride my bicycle before work but had forgotten to bring the riding shoes.
Some time ago, the reporter in me would have just asked him about the talk on Pagoh and Muar even though it would have been very rude to do so. Well, age has taught me to be more polite, especially with nice people. We exchanged khabar berita and I let him and his small party continue with their breakfast and chat. Apart from our mutual friend and wife, there was nobody else around Muhyiddin: no bodyguards, no officers, no uniformed patrol ... all those things and people I had associated with him as the DPM.
Discreetly, I told the cashier I would like to pay for the Tan Sri's breakfast if I could. "Sudah dibayar Pak, ramai yang mahu bayarkan dia tadi ...". Well, I expected it. And that, at the very least, was nice to know. Abang Din doesn't have to limit his choice to Muar ...