: FOR an octogenarian, Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister is keeping up a punishing schedule that would tax anyone half his age. Beginning on nomination day Sept 20, Tun Dr Mahathir was present to lend support to his son Datuk Mukhriz who is contesting the Ayer Hitam state seat. There is a big buzz in his campaign as should BN win and retake the state administration, guess who is in the running for the plum position of Menteri Besar? Mukhriz is a shoo in favourite to lead the state in the event of a BN victory not only because he is the son of the father but on merit alone, he is the clear cream of the crop.
Political pedigree counts a lot and Malaysia is no exception. The progeny of former Prime Ministers from Tun Hussein Onn and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi are in the PRU13 mix – and one needs no reminding Najib is the son of Razak – second PM Tun Abdul Razak. To cement that familial mélange further, the Onns and the Razaks are bonded even more as the maternal line is entwined by Tun Hajah Rahah and Toh Puan Suhaila. They are sisters married to the fathers of Najib and Hishamuddin.
Less patrician, Mukhriz’s family tree is traced to Mahathir’s lineage which has southern Indian roots. This had become fodder in the political jousting over BN’s overt pro-bumiputera policies and UMNO’s nationalist stance that was the hallmark of his administration.
Back on the campaign trail, Mahathir appears to have set up the family campaign headquarters in Alor Star as he has also been busy pressing the flesh in the neighbouring state constituency of Kota Siputeh under the Jerlun parliamentary constituency. Mukhriz is up against PAS candidate Abdul Ghani Ahmad who won in 2008 by a slim 506 majority. The battle may not look as easy as it may seem as there were many potential candidates with the Jerlun Umno division who had designs on what is considered a “winnable” seat.
Another “senior citizen” who is doing the rounds in this PRU13 campaign is former Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib. Addressed athletically as “Mat Tyson” among fans and detractors alike at the height of his political ascendancy some three parliaments ago, his jump to the PAS camp came as very much of a surprise. Where once he was the darling of Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian for instance, the same papers have gone to town to portray his unsuitability to poke his nose into this fray.
One newspaper in the same camp went on a “nudge, nudge; wink, wink” editorial exercise to list out his so-called “personal failings” of their one-time darling; which during the time when everything was hunky dory, mattered not.
This election also sees some insiders jumping ship to become outsiders, and bringing with them plenty of possibilities to light up the campaign.
Former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) chief Datuk Fauzi Shaari is contesting the Larut Parliamentary seat for PAS against BN’s Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin – not exactly a slouch as he is a former Deputy Plantations Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister. Fauzi has, in the mould of a few of his former colleagues in the higher ranks of the police force who are now retired, but “politically active”. They are the ones who are making “reform” noises as to the administration of peace, justice and law enforcement in this country.
It is clearly a case of gamekeeper turned poacher – depending on which side of the legal fence you find yourself in.