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David and Goliath

  • While Mahathir is still a giant basking in his past glories, he is fighting the war solitarily, and is perhaps too old to fight now!

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Langkawi MP Nawawi Ahmad used to be a rising star in Umno.

Before he went into politics, Nawawi was widely perceived as among TNB's most outstanding engineers. He also sat on the board of KTMB.

In the 2013 general elections, Nawawi put his engineering talent into good use, developing a highly systematic and efficient organization war tactic to thump his Pakatan Rakyat opponent.

He was praised by Umno for his electoral performance and was invited to pen a report to inspire the others.

No one can deny that Nawawi is a very smart guy. His political future would have been very bright if not for his one big weakness: being overly impulsive.

When the entire country was complaining about the escalating cost of living as a result of GST implementation, Nawawi responded on Facebook: "If you can't accept GST, migrate to the Moon!"

And when the US Department of Justice mentioned about MO1, he rushed to the PM's defense: "MO1 is the King, because His Majesty holds the highest office in Malaysia."

His MO1 definition apparently enraged the then Yang dii-Pertuan Agong, who was also the Sultan of Kedah, and he was forced to offer "a million apologies" to His Majesty.

Much earlier, he came under public wrath for publishing the picture of Karpal Singh killed in a road accident.

Such trivial acts of foolishness have not rocked his position, but the upcoming GE14 will put him to real test!

Will he be able to defend his seat if Mahathir were to contest the Langkawi parliamentary seat?

He told me at the Langkawi Umno building, "I respect Tun, and admit he did a lot for Langkawi and the country.

"That's why I don't want him to come here, because election is all about fighting the rival. There may be harsh words that will hurt the feelings of this old man."

Nawawi cautiously responded to Mahathir's challenge.

"Anyway, from the many surveys we have conducted, BN can easily beat any PPBM candidate, including Mahathir."

Confident as he is, many familiar with Langkawi politics, including those in Umno, confess that Nawawi is indeed no fight for Mahathir.

They feel that while Nawawi is competent and diligent, he pales when put alongside strongman Mahathir.

Nawawi and Mahathir is like David and Goliath, a young boy and a 9-foot-tall giant!

Some in Umno are of the opinion that the party should field a much stronger candidate to fight Mahathir, and this candidate must be a local who can be accepted by the voters.

There are very few who meet the criteria. Ayer Hangat state assemblyman Mohamad Rawi is perhaps the only one that comes into mind.

While Umno believes Nawawi does have a chance to fend off Mahathir's challenge, that chance will be significantly boosted if Mohamad Rawi -- who outshines Nawawi in competency, personal charm and approachability -- were to be fielded instead.

When I met Rawi at Wisma Darul Aman in Alor Setar, he gave me a hug as if he was seeing a long lost friend.

He is that kind of "political animal" who knows how to engage people and communicate with them.

Indeed Rawi is more popular than Nawawi in Langkawi. He can befriend anyone, Malays or Chinese, and will answer to the needs of people seeking his help. Many know that he is a strong contender for the Kedah MB office in future.

He told me admittedly that the party leadership might want him to take Nawawi's place to confront Mahathir.

He was confident he could beat Mahathir: "People love Mahathir, but they love Umno more!"

While Rawi may appear a little more eligible than Nawawi, he is at best just another David compared to Mahathir.

But in the legend, it was David who eventually took down Goliath with stones.

In Langkawi, even though both Nawawi and Rawi are never as powerful as Mahathir, they have the formidable backing of Umno with its inexhaustible resources that could reach out to every single household on the island.

Here, David is not fighting the giant alone. He is backed by a mighty army.

While Mahathir is still a giant basking in his past glories, he is fighting the war solitarily, and is perhaps too old to fight now!

Kedah PH secretary Dr Abdul Rahman Ahmad has admitted that Langkawi is a grey area that even Mahathir may not win.

Picking a wrong battleground could cost the giant dearly, but is there another viable option if not Langkawi?

Whatever the outcome will be, the clash between David and Goliath in Langkawi is poised to become another classic in the nation's history.

 

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