PAS deputy chief a silver-tongued crowd puller

PAS deputy chief a silver-tongued crowd puller

MALAYSIA'S Islamic party has one sure-fire way to attract huge crowds to its ceramah (political rallies) and to make them stay until the end.

Step one: Enlist Mr Mohamad Sabu as a speaker.

Step two: Make sure he is the last to speak.

The formula works every time as he remains the most popular public orator in Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and indeed, in the opposition pact.

Sure, Pakatan Rakyat's de facto chief Anwar Ibrahim and the spiritual leader of PAS, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, attract thousands too, but no one can match Mr Mohamad's wildly popular fiery speeches laced with humour. Sometimes, he throws in dirty jokes that make the ulama (clerics) sharing the stage with him squirm in horror.

"He is the most popular speaker in PAS. Interestingly, he did not take courses to speak and hold a crowd. He learnt everything from his years of speaking," said Mr Rashidi Hassan, a former editor of PAS organ Harakah.

In a party of ulama, Mr Mohamed, the party's deputy president, is decidedly not one.

Mr Mohamad's jokes often feature pretty women. Just before the May general election, he told thousands of PAS supporters at its Kedah headquarters that the opposition pact has many supporters in Sabah and Sarawak.

How did he know? He said he bumped into pretty girls at a beauty pageant in Sabah recently. They asked him to come nearer so that they could whisper into his ears.

He said he did, and they whispered in their sweet voices: "Ini Kalilah (This time)!" The election battle cry of the opposition. The crowd roared with laughter.

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