KL, 14 Nov: When things were falling apart for Umno after 2018, party insiders started touting the likeable deputy president Tok Mat Hassan as its future president and, by extension, a potential Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Such talk has become less audible these days. Tok Mat’s move to contest in the parliamentary seat of Rembau in the GE15 was met with, at best, a lukewarm reception at natuional level. On the contrary, Khairy Jamaluddin, the 3-term Rembau MP who grudginly made way for Tok Mat’s parliamentary ambition, is now being bandied about as Umno’s next “poster boy” after Ismail Sabri. KJ is contesting the Sg Buloh parliament, a seat won by Pakatan Harapan in the last election.
Wither Tok Mat Hassan?
It may be too soon to tell. Umno’s infighting in the run-up to this Friday’s polls is unprecedented. KJ’s bold admission that he wants to be PM is causing a lot of anxiety among supporters of the bigwigs and warlords in Umno. Political rivals are rubbing their hands in glee: Hamzah Zainuddin of Bersatu warned KJ that Uno will cut him into pieces after his I-want-to-be-PM declaration. KJ’s “good friend” Rafizi Ramli from Pakatan Harapan has predicted a bloody death (politically, that is) for the 46-yer old as a result of his outburst. Kerana mulut badan binasa, or so says the Malay adage.
But KJ shouldn’t care. Caretaker PM Ismail Sabri has given his blessings to KJ. “He’s qualified (to be PM),” the Bera MP, a Vice President in the party, said. Ismail is going to be in Sg Buloh to help with KJ’s campaiging. If Umno wins the election and rule once again, he has promised to make KJ a “senior minister”.
Ismail has not made the same kind of promise to Tok Mat, even though Tok Mat is more senior in the party than KJ or even he himself.
Wither Tok Mat?
It does not help that Rafizi Ramli’s Invoke has got to say this about Tok Mat’s parliamentary dream: Rembau is NOT safe!
If Rafizi is proven right and Tok Mat fails to defend the Rembau seat that KJ had held since 2008, it should be the end of the road for him, for sure. The only consoloation is that it has happened before. In 2013, Melaka chief minister Ali Rustam decided to pursue his dream of becoming a Cabinet Minister, only to lose to Shamsul Iskandar of PKR in one of the biggest upsets ever. Read Chinese didn’t appreciate me.
Ali Rustam, when asked about his political future after the crushing defeat, said, “Time will tell”. Well, time has told.
Tak dapek den nolong doh, Tok Mat.