A bomoh and an ex-beauty queen may be candidates in Malaysia’s 14th general election.
Ibrahim Mat Zin, Malaysia’s notorious “Bomoh King,” announced on Tuesday (April 17) that he plans to run as an independent candidate for a parliamentary seat in the country’s north-western state of Perak, The Star reported.
The 68-year-old shaman first came to the world’s attention in 2014 when he conducted two rituals outside Kuala Lumpur International Airport, convinced that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could be located with the help of some coconuts, his bamboo binoculars and a “flying” carpet, according to The Star.
The “Bomoh King” made another well-publicized appearance with his trusty binoculars in the wake of the assassination of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, last year. Wading into ankle deep water at a Malaysian beach, Ibrahim conducted a ritual involving the binoculars, two coconuts, five bamboo “cannons,” a carpet and a bowl of seawater to protect the nation from a North Korean attack.
The following day, he performed a ritual outside the National Institute of Forensic Medicine at Hospital Kuala Lumpur, where the body of Kim was kept.
Now, the shaman and other members of his Malaysian Silat Association Seni Silat Gayung Ghaib Malaysia have their eyes on a bigger prize – though Ibrahim insists they are motivated by a desire to do good.
“This is not a gimmick, we truly want to help people who are suffering. 27 members from my association will be contesting nationwide as independents,” he told reporters at a press conference, according to The Star.
Mr Ibrahim added that he would not resort to gimmicks during the campaigning period.
“I sincerely want to help the people. If I win, I plan to share my wealth and I will give my MP’s salary to poor people from all races,” The Star quoted him saying.
Meanwhile, in a little-known sub-district in the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, a former beauty queen may be gearing up to battle an ex-journalist and candidate for the ruling Barisan Nasional Joniston Bangkuai.
There has also been much speculation recently that law graduate Jo-Anna Sue Henley Rampas will be the opposition’s candidate in the sub-district of Kiulu.
The 29-year-old is not the first in her family to enter politics – her mother was involved in the now-defunct Parti Akar while her uncle Louis Rampas was the PBS assemblyman before Bangkuai took over, according to The Star.
Rampas has tried her hand at many trades, and was a singer, model and personal trainer before turning her attention to politics.
Victory for the Parti Warisan Sabah candidate may be within reach, as the incumbent Bangkuai narrowly won the 2013 election by a majority of just 44 votes.
Rampas has downplayed reports about her candidacy and pointed out any decision to field her in Kiulu lies in the hands of the party’s leadership, The Star reported.
“I still don’t know if I will be contesting against Datuk Joniston. But whoever it is I am going against, seasoned politician or not, my focus will be on winning the majority vote,” she said, according to The Star.
Warisan party sources confirmed Rampas was the likely choice for the seat, although former PKR candidate Rhodes Panilau, who is with Warisan now, was also being considered.