PETALING JAYA: PPBM’s announcement of its list of election candidates for Johor has prompted a former MP to ask whether there is conflict between party chairman Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin Yassin.
Tawfik Ismail, who served as MP for Sungai Benut between 1986 and 1990, noted that his nephew, staunch Mahathir supporter Tariq Ismail, was not named as the party’s candidate for Sri Gading although many had expected him to be chosen for that parliamentary contest.
He also noted that Osman Sapian and Tosrin Jaravanti, whom he called “Muhyiddin’s men”, had been chosen as candidates. He said the two, despite being Umno veterans, didn’t have strong followings.
Osman has been chosen for the Kempas contest and Tosrin for Bukit Permai. Both are state seats.
Osman is PPBM Johor’s secretary and Tosrin was Muhyiddin’s aide when they were in Umno.
Tawfik said the only Mahathir man in the Johor list appeared to be PPBM youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, who is named for the Muar parliamentary seat.
“But Muar is a hard seat” for the opposition to win, he said, noting that the Johor royal family’s influence there is strong.
“In fact, the whole list for Johor isn’t strong and is designed for defeat,” he added. “Barisan Nasional has not revealed it’s line-up. By showing it’s hand now, PPBM is giving an opportunity to BN to fine tune its list of candidates.”
Tawfik also said it appeared that Mahathir had lost some of his influence and probably needed local assistance to administer, for instance, the party’s machinery in Johor.
Tariq, in a recent interview with FMT, indicated that PPBM’s decision on the Sri Gading seat had not diminished his loyalty to Mahathir.
“The most important thing for now is for Tun to win,” he said. “He has his strategy and he knows what he’s doing and I believe in that.”