I have attended several ceramahs or even go to some big public gatherings like the anti-protest fuel hike in June 2008 or even earlier the Bersih 2007 and if there's a significant person being there, one of them is Mat Sabu. I have seen some videos of him talking as to refresh my mind and he's more straightforward, with some in-cheek jokes inserted into his talks, not so as mega as Anwar.
When Mat Sabu was announced as PAS no 2, it is actually very smart move played by the grassroot members. First, the party needs to reinvent the image of rather being a conservative, Taliban-perceived party as what MCA always whack people about. Secondly, it tends to give the party more bite in its bid to become a party that is able to stand on its own feet, in the goal of emulating the success and capability of DAP, in its performance in the Sarawak state elecetions. Third, the new lineup should be able to make more roads into reaching the appeal of everyone. Finally, there is a realization by members that they need a leader from grassroots who is able to take care of issues that many want attention to.
"This new leadership will put fear in UMNO", as a grassroot member said. As predicted, the moment the non-scholar lineup was announced, Utusan and those from UMNO have been speaking things that say that they are in a panic mode. For instance:
1. "Braheng Ali" calls new PAS leadership as Anwar's voice.
2. Perkasa sec-gen says Mat Sabu' has no academic qualifications
3. DAP and PKR have influenced PAS to change its principles: Mukhriz
4. Utusan blames Anwar, DAP for PAS ulamas electoral defeat
All sorts of predictions in the case of the ulamas losing out in the main lineup have been expected and turns out to be true. We are seeing the coming of the end of patronage in politics
But PAS work has just started. There is of course many things cut out and to be completed like:
1. Some insiders have been mentioning the PAS Youth team as the only sole "scholar faction". How will the new team deal with them?
2. UMNO still keeps propping out the issue of unity government with them. How will the new team will get the entire party to say firmly no to that idea, when there is knowledge of some people and factions in the party interested with that idea, for the sake of prestige and privilege.
3. Transition from Nik Aziz - Credit must also be given to Nik Aziz, for his views on the party and being the main opposition block against the unity government project. Nik Aziz may be "off" anytime, so there is a need to provide a smooth transition and someone who is as capable of him that can be progressive as well. Prior to this, the leadership is still in conservative mode and this didn't give much appeal to people.
I must say that Mat Sabu is an added bonus to leading the opposition, if Anwar and Azmin are considered as not very good or being the weakest link of the coalition, then he can be one asides from Guan Eng and some capable people from the other two parties. I can also point Nizar as another potential person but there is a need for him to concentrate on taking back Perak in the next general elections.
Mat's a cool dude. Not the guy that talks big and quoting many things like Anwar does. You can see it if you can have time with him sitting in a warung if you can. Or if you can't you can just watch some videos on YouTube to judge for yourself. Recent videos in Kerdau can be a starting point.
I would really look forward to see how this cool dude will say and appear in Bersih 2 next month.