For Tok Mat, victory triumphs over pain

Meet and greet: Mohamad visiting the Rantau wet market to thank the voters after he won the by-election.

SEREMBAN: Not many people know that Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan had dislodged a bone in his right foot’s little toe two days before the nomination for the Rantau by-election on March 30.

The injury was immediately treated where the bone was set back in place but the pain remained.

Media personnel and party supporters present during the nomination process noticed Mohamad limp as he walked into the hall of SJKC Bandar Seri Sendayan to file his papers.

In Saturday’s by-election, the Umno deputy president polled 10,397 votes while his main opponent Pakatan Harapan’s Dr S. Streram received 5,887 votes, giving Mohamad a handsome majority of 4,510 votes.

“I accidentally kicked a chair at home while preparing myself for the nomination.

“The pain was unbearable and remains until today but (with the victory), it is worth it,” he said after spending 90 minutes thanking voters at the Rantau wet market for their support.

The three-term mentri besar also said it never crossed his mind that he would lose the contest, adding that being a local boy who knew many people there by their names, the possibility of losing was remote.

“I, however, always rated my chance as 50:50 because I did not want my election machinery to become complacent.

“I had to be on my toes as Pakatan, led by (PKR president) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and their army of Cabinet ministers had practically made Rantau their second home for the past two weeks.

“Being the Opposition, I didn’t expect to win with a 4,510-vote majority.

“I was only expecting a majority of 1,000 votes,” he said.

Mohamad attributed his big win to the tactic of contesting under the “Team Tok Mat” banner and not exclusively under the Barisan Nasional brand.

“People know Tok Mat because we grew up together here. That gave me a real advantage.

“And the worst thing that Pakatan did was to carry out a smear campaign against me and this backfired badly on them,” he said.

On the accusation by electoral watchdog Bersih 2.0 that he had broken election laws by flashing his ballot paper to photographers when casting his vote, Mohamad was confident he did not commit any offence.

“It is my vote and it is my wish if I showed it. I did not take the ballot paper out or do anything else,” he said.

Earlier, Election Commission chairman Azhar Azizan Harun when asked on the matter, said he too was not sure if it was an offence.


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