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A tale of two ex-veeps

Hafiz Yatim | Oct 1, 09 1:32pm

Two former Umno vice-presidents who won the 2004 party elections stood alongside each
other on stage on Tuesday as thousands in Port Dickson waited anxiously for the
announcement of the BN candidate for the Bagan Pinang by-election.

T HE two were Isa Samad, who


garnered the highest number of
votes, and Muhyiddin Yassin, who was
then the number three vice-president.
At a recent 'ceramah' PKR election director
Saifuddin Nasution, who was once from
Umno, said he had heard Isa, after winning
the vice-presidency, telling his alma mater
Muhyiddin announced Isa's candidature for school (Sekolah Alam Shah), who wanted
the by-election to an ecstatic crowd. The some donations, that he had finished most of
nomination day is this Saturday. his campaign funds in the party election.

Isa is seeking to rebuild his disgraced career Isa, 59, wearing an all blue baju Melayu at
after he was suspended for three years for the announcement of his candidacy, will be
money politics during the fateful 2004 party contesting against Negeri Sembilan Pas
elections. commissioner Zulkefly Mohd Omar, and
possibly an independent candidate with PKR,
Muhyiddin, as we all know rose to become Teluk Kemang committee member Shahruddin
Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Abd Hamid.
President in Umno and Barisan Nasional.
Mounting pressure
This will be the ninth by-election since the
March 8, 2008 general election, which saw BN
winning only one seat in Batang Ai. BN lost 4
seats, which are the Kuala Terengganu, Bukit
Gantang parliamentary, Manek Urai and
Permatang Pasir seats respectively, to PAS.

Certainly, another defeat to PAS would mean


that Umno is losing its Malay hegemony as it
would send signals that the Islamist party is
taking over its role in representing the
Malays.

Hence, with mounting pressure to win and


coupled with strong demands from Umno
Teluk Kemang, the Umno leadership had
chosen a sure bet in Isa despite his tainted
past and strong disapproval from former
This is despite Muhyiddin being one of the premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad (below), who
most vocal critics of former Prime Minister had once considered Isa his blue-eyed boy.
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's team.

isa samad bagan pinang 02One is reminded


of Isa's winning speech at the Umno
assembly when he won the 2004 vice-
presidency.

He said: "Those who took my money and


voted for me it is good. Those who took it and
did not vote, we will see each other later on
the 'akhirat' day (day of reckoning)".

A tale of two ex-veeps 1/2


Isa's candidacy in the Bagan Pinang by- It remains to be seen, what will happen if Isa
election is seen by many as an attempt to wins and the implications of it on present
bring him back into Umno politics. Other than Menteri Besar Mohammad Hassan (Pix left).
leading the Teluk Kemang Umno division,
which he had helmed since 1982, Isa has not mohammad hassan negeri sembilan
been making any inroads following his six- mbMuhyiddin, being the deputy president will
year suspension which was subsequently now be leading BN's charge to ensure a
reduced to three years. victory for the coalition. In other words,
Muhyiddin will be the campaigning manager
He failed to regain the vice-presidency at this to ensure his former rival, Isa, wins.
year's Umno contest and last year, Isa was
not even selected to contest in any state or This is the second Umno/BN seat which it is
parliamentary seats. In other words, he was trying to defend in by-elections as earlier in
in political oblivion and no longer in the year it lost the Kuala Terengganu seat
mainstream Umno politics. which it won at last year's general election.

Reversal of fortune Certainly, having a full backing of the whole


However, come Saturday, it may see a party machinery is an added bonus. There
reversal in Isa's position as Umno will be were earlier fears of a possible boycott when
depending on this former Negeri Sembilan banners were put-up on Tuesday suggesting
Menteri Besar, who had led the state for more such a move if Isa was not selected.
than two decades, to revive Umno and BN's
dwindling fortunes. However, the boycott would certainly not
materialise with Isa's selection. He will
receive the backing of the 4,000 plus postal
votes, along with the votes of his relatives,
who are also said to be residents there.

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