How Tok Mat’s charisma and leadership swayed voters

Leaders of Barisan Nasional with Mohamad Hasan (fourth from left) after last night’s by-election results were declared.

SEREMBAN: Barisan Nasional won the Rantau by-election because of the superior charisma and leadership qualities of the coalition’s candidate, Mohamad Hasan, according to Umno leaders.

Mohamad, or Tok Mat, garnered 10,397 votes to defeat PKR’s Dr Streram Sinnasamy by a majority of 5,887 votes.

Former premier Najib Razak said “Tok Mat’s leadership was better valued by voters here compared to Pakatan Harapan, despite it being the ruling coalition”.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the choice of Tok Mat as the BN candidate persuaded voters to take the risk of supporting the opposition.

“Even though PKR leaders came down to campaign (for Streram), in the end, the constituents chose who they wanted to represent them based on the quality of the candidate,” Najib told reporters here after the election.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, vice president Rafizi Ramli and DAP’s Lim Kit Siang were among the PH leaders who campaigned for Streram.

Najib said the people of Rantau had admitted to him that they had made a mistake by voting PH into power in the May 9 general election last year.

“So this time around they decided to back BN.”

Zahid, who is on garden leave, said Mohamad’s win showed that PH was being rejected by voters who felt that they made the wrong choice in the last general election.

Mohamad is acting Umno president in Zahid’s absence.

He said “Tok Mat was the perfect choice for the people of Rantau even though they took the risk of supporting a candidate from the opposition.”

Umno information chief Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said Mohamad’s win was proof that the people of Rantau appreciated the latter’s past contributions.

“More importantly, they will now have a credible opposition leader in the state assembly,” he said in a statement.