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Was Mat Over trying to revive his career?

 | May 21, 2017

The actor made a brief escape from obscurity to be Najib's champion.

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Actor Sulaiman Yassin aka Mat Over gave the worst performance of his career when he slapped film director David Teo in public last Wednesday at a Transformasi Nasional dialogue hosted by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

Sulaiman claimed that slapping Yeo was not extreme behaviour. He said Yeo had behaved badly and shown disrespect towards Najib and he wanted to teach him some manners.

The irony is lost on Sulaiman. Slapping someone, whether it is in public or behind closed doors, is not exactly the height of good manners.

Yeo had chastised the moderator of the dialogue for ignoring the people at the back of the hall and also those at the very front of the audience. He claimed that the moderator, Rosyam Nor, had concentrated on a tiny portion of the audience to field questions for the prime minister.

Rosyam too gave an abysmal performance when he reprimanded Yeo and told him to behave. A decent moderator would not scold members of the audience, but take comments in his stride. The job of the moderator can be tricky, but he should never be rude.

However, Mat Over was the man in the spotlight, although not for good acting. He made a brief escape from obscurity to be Najib’s champion.

Someone who is unashamedly violent in public must have serious anger management issues. He reveals that he is unable to conduct himself in public and it gives an insight into his upbringing.

A film critic who prefers to remain anonymous said: “Usually, actors who show this extreme behaviour do it for one reason only. Their careers are flagging, and they can get little work. So they wait for an occasion to do something extraordinary, to gain maximum publicity. If you ask me, Sulaiman did this to to get attention. It is as simple as that.

“Sadly, many actors have egos they cannot control. They are used to being in the limelight. Mat Over’s 10 seconds of fame on Wednesday night was beamed all over Malaysia and, guess what, he is back in the news. It boils down to ego. He feels wanted and loved again.”

Another observer said: “When this apparition appeared from the other side of the central platform, and hurtled towards Yeo, the security men should have sensed that something was amiss. They should have jumped to prevent anything untoward. What if the individual was going to have a go at Najib? The security detail was clearly incompetent.”

Another person, someone who has moderated many talks, said: “Was the event staged? Everyone appears to act as if nothing happened. A violent assault was made in full view of the public. Later, the assailant and his victim emerged, shaking hands and hugging each other and Najib. Was this a charade to make Najib look like a peacemaker?

“Charges should have been pressed. The victim lost our respect when he declined to take this course of action. The incident has now spiralled out of control, and the Malay extremists want Yeo to be punished.

“This slapping incident has completely overshadowed the event. We cannot find out what the dialogue was about. More importantly, the question which Yeo had put to Najib is now lost in oblivion.”

Mariam Mokhtar is an FMT columnist.

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