AFTER news surfaced in the media that a by-election would be held in Kuala Kangsar (KK) after the death of its Member of Parliament, Dato' Wan Mohamad Khair-il- Anuar Wan Ahmad in a helicopter crash in Sarawak, I had been there twice even though KK is quite a distance from my home town of Melaka.
"Why father like revisiting KK?" asked one of my daughters once when we were in the family's car on the North-South Highway."Was there something or someone special there?" she asked even though she and the rest of my family members knew it was my habit to make a stop at KK whenever possible if we were on a Northern trip.
I didn't answer my daughter's 'provoking' question, whats more with my wife on my side, but my mind raced back to my teenager years...growing up in Kuala Kangsar or to be exact schooling in MCKK in the 70-s.
Ten years ago (sometime in the middle of 2006) I wrote a piece in Harakah entitled 'My father, my hero' in which among others I mentioned his sacrifice in sending me to the elite school for the Malays.
At the end of the article I wrote: "The most unforgettable incident that touched my heart about my father happened some 30 years ago (now 40 years ago) when I enrolled as a Form One student for the Prep School, Malay College Kuala Kangsar. To go to Kuala Kangsar, my father and I took the bus from Melaka to Tampin and from there took the express train.
"Since that journey was the very first time I left to some faraway places, I just couldn't sleep all night long so I just stared at the darkness of night from my seat. All I could see was distant lights and when the rain roared in the jungles and estates, fire flies in the dark night kept me busy and excited.
"We reached the Kuala Kangsar station at 3.00 a.m. There, we waited for the early signs of the day and then marched to the grounds of the college. It was more than a kilometer away. It was a sight when I saw my father carrying a flour sack stacked with my two small pillows on his head and a big bag in his hand.
"When we reached the living room cum registration office at the Prep School, my father and I sat on the hard long bench instead of the cozy cushions with our luggage (the flour sack) in front. Looking around I saw the other boys' fashionable bags. Nowadays when I think about it, I can feel how humble or down to earth my father was on that big day when he chose not to use the comfortable seat.
"It seemed that only my father and I arrived at the prestigious college by train and then continued on foot while my friends and form mates came in cars, some in flashy ones. I felt very small in the new world and I didn't know what was inside my father's heart.
"But I sensed he must have been very proud to have a son at the college. It was because before we departed from our 'kampung', I heard some family members say: "Congratulations to have a doctor, perhaps an engineer or may be a prime minister in the making!" (They were referring to Tun Abdul Razak, the then Prime Minister who was an old boy of the school).
"Remembering that memorable event in 1975 brought me close to tears but I don’t shy away to declare that my father is my hero! "
My five years at MCKK left a 'rojak' (mixed) feeling in me. It was a blend of love but mostly hate - in Form Five 5 I could not wait to leave the school...but how strange some 20, 30 or 40 years later I always have had a unexplained urge to visit the town...drive pass the school ground with its Roman style building, a large soccer and rugby field in front of Big School and sometimes say my prayers (solat) at Masjid Ridzwaniah.
Since Kuala Kangsar folks would be busy with the coming elections to be held on June 18th, lets us leave 'the MCKK story' for a while but have quick look at facts and figures about the royal town and districts around it and most importantly recent developments regarding the by-election.
The parliamentary constituency of Kuala Kangsar encompasses two state seats; Bukit Chandan and Manong with a total of 32,949 registered voters - close to 70 percent of them Malays, 24 percent Chinese, 6 percent Indians and people of other races.
Kuala Kangsar witnessed a four-cornered contest but some political analysts claimed the real fight is between Umno-BN's Datin Mastura Yazid and PAS candidate Dr Najihatussalehah Ahmad, with both parties commanding more or less equal support of the Malay voters. The other two candidates are Dr Ahmad Termizi Ramli of Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) and independent candidate Izat Bukhary Ismail Bukhary.
In the last general election (May 2013), Wan Mohammad Khair-il won the seat, winning with a majority of 1,082 votes. He had received 14,218 votes ahead of PAS’ Khalil Idham Lim Abdullah (13,136) and former Wanita Umno deputy chief Datuk Kamilia Ibrahim, who contested as an independent candidate (447).
Now back to the ‘MCKK story’…why did I note that sometimes I had the feeling of hate boarding in the prestigious school? One reason was that during my time, students for reasons only known to them and moves among themselves were divided into two main groups – the Western favours way of life and the so called ‘square’ or BRU (Badan Revolusi Agama) types. The experiences during those growing up years shaped many of the former students including the country’s top leaders as we witnessed today.
If students in a prestigious educational institution of the Malays were divided; now during the Kuala Kangsar by-election, the Malays too are divided into at least three sects – they are those who are in favour for Umno-BN, PAS and the newly founded party of Amanah. If there were 21,000 Malay voters and if they were equally divided, then perhaps Umno-BN would have 7,000 votes, PAS 7,000 votes, and Amanah 7,000 votes.
Malays are divided previously into two main parties that was Umno and PAS and now we have PKR (Keadilan) and Amanah…perhaps there are parties and people who were behind the move…their modus operandi were to break the votes of the Malays. If that happens, they would eventually become the political ‘king maker’ of this country! So beware!
Islamic scholars (ulamas) said Malays should discard racial politics and implement Islam instead. So the Malays could be united only by Islam; party or parties that are reluctant to follow the way of the Prophet (s.a.w.) should be abandoned; only the ones that are willing to carry out Allah’s and His Prophet’s orders should be given support.
Allah The Almighty tells us not to divide, but first of all, we must hold fast to the Rope of Allah – “And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allah (i.e. this Qur'an), and be not divided among yourselves, and remember Allah's Favour on you, for you were enemies one to another but He joined your hearts together, so that, by His Grace, you became brethren (in Islamic Faith), and you were on the brink of a pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.,) clear to you, that you may be guided.” (QS. Ali Imran 3:103) - ES