Tok Pa Divorces UMNO: The Exodus of the Giants?

Tok Pa Divorces UMNO: The Exodus of the Giants?
Tok Pa Divorces UMNO: The Exodus of the Giants?

The case of the Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed quitting UMNO is akin to the case of the proverbial quiet first wife who decided to say nothing and then drop the bombshell on the philandering husband, allowing "all hell to break loose".

And in politics, when a force like Tok Pa (as Mustapha is popularly known) goes out, there will definitely be those who follow suit, not having dared to earlier.

Former Foreign Minister and Kimanis MP Datuk Seri Anifah Aman is only the first of the sheep waiting in line to exit the party, says an insider. 

Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin, advisor to the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, hinted that a meeting had taken place between former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and a top government official in Putrajaya

(Anifah announced his resignation from the party less than 24 hours after Tok Pa.)

Social media is abuzz with rumours that more UMNO big guns will leave the party in the coming weeks.At press time, Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin has confirmed to Astro AWANI that more UMNO MPs will quit the party.

Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin, media advisor to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, also hinted that a meeting had taken place between former defence minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and a top government official in Putrajaya.

As for Tok Pa, his action to resign speaks louder than words, judging from the reaction his resignation from the party is making among the grassroot members.

In his four decades in UMNO, it was his quiet style that paved the UMNO roads into the heartland of Kelantan, which was not an easy trek.

PAS has been the main choice of the majority of the Kelantanese for decades and despite this, even in the last 14th General Election, when UMNO was at its weakest, Tok Pa managed to not only win his seat in Jeli for the ninth term but also with increased majority.

As Kelantanese would say, for Tok Pa, it is always the case of  "atah kandok, hok peting bare jadi" (never mind what happens, the important thing is it happens).

A Kelantanese Umno man sums it up:

"Tok Pa ni bini nombor satu di Kelate, dia tak suko kat Zahid cari betina lain tapi jenis senyap, tak ghoyak kat ore. Pakai keghak kih."

(Tok Pa is like the first wife of Umno in Kelantan, he did not like it that Zahid (Umno President) was looking for another woman. But he is the quiet type and does not tell anyone. He asks for divorce straight away.)

He was referring to the cozying up of UMNO with PAS, which seemed to have irked Tok Pa.

Khairy Jamaluddin, Rembau MP, threw a fit on Twitter, blaming it all on UMNO President Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Khairy, however, is unlikely to follow Tok Pa out, for he is said to have bigger plans to reform UMNO, which Zahid does not seem to be appearing to do.

Tok Pa was always known as one of the good ones, and even the opposition had nary a bad word to say about the man. To those in Pakatan Harapan, Tok Pa's exit is long overdue.

Kelantan PH chairman Datuk Husam Musa of Amanah said that he welcomes Tok Pa's and future exits of UMNO top leaders.

"It must be taken in a positive way. I look forward to meeting him after his 'mourning period'," said Husam.

He also stated that PH has to be open about working with these former UMNO leaders to ensure a broader national agenda can be worked out.

"It is not just about Kelantan but of a broader national agenda of Pakatan Harapan being consolidated nationally. We have more friends now," said Husam.

Husam said now that Tok Pa is out, Umno strongman and Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Tengku Hamzah should also start packing up and leave Umno.

The question, however, remains: Will Ku Li leave his kingdom in Gua Musang? The 81-year-old has held the seat for 44 years. 

"UMNO needs to learn from its mistakes; we are not always right," said the UMNO veteran in response to Tok Pa quitting the party.

"In a democracy, it is his right to part with the leadership. What the party needs to do is to ensure the current leadership stays together and continue the fight; listen to the people's voices and change," he added when contacted by Astro AWANI.