Khairy defends Tok Mat’s wealth as Rantau campaign heats up

Khairy Jamaluddin.

SEREMBAN: Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin has defended the wealth of Barisan Nasional’s (BN) candidate for the Rantau by-election, saying Mohamad Hasan was a corporate figure before his foray into politics.

He said Mohamad, better known as Tok Mat, had been a CEO of Mercedes Benz for Southeast Asia before then-prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told him to contest in the 11th general election.

Mohamad, who is looking to retain the Rantau state seat in the April 13 polls, defeated PKR’s Badrulhisham Shahrin in 2004 and was appointed as menteri besar of Negeri Sembilan.

“The menteri besar’s salary is much less than that of a corporate figure, but because he loves Rantau, he was willing (to take a pay cut),” Khairy said at a ceramah in Taman Kelab Tuanku here last night.

“So it is not surprising that he has assets. The people of Rantau know this, but outsiders may not be aware.”

Yesterday, Pakatan Harapan candidate Dr Streram Sinnasamy urged Mohamad to explain his source of income and how he had been able to purchase an apartment.

This was after Negeri Sembilan speaker Zulkefly Mohamad Omar questioned the lack of action by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission against Mohamad for allegedly violating banking laws by transferring RM10 million to London through a money changer to buy the unit.

Mohamad maintains he has done nothing wrong and has welcomed any probe into the matter.

At the ceramah last night, Khairy said the “personal attacks” against Mohamad were a sign of concern from the ruling coalition over the increasing support for BN.

“Before this, they would speak about policies and their promises. But of late, there have been a lot of personal attacks,” the former Umno Youth chief said.

“They do not know that Rantau is synonymous with Mohamad Hasan, and Mohamad Hasan is synonymous with Rantau.”

The ceramah, which was also attended by Kelantan Menteri Besar Ahmad Yakob, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, and MCA vice-president Ti Lian Ker, marked the first time that BN and PAS leaders have shared a stage against PH.