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Date: 23 Nov 1999
Sons of stalwarts ready for battle
By Shahar Yaacob
JOHOR BARU: Two former Johor Umno stalwarts, the late Tan Sri Syed Jaafar Albar and Datuk Abd Rahman Mahmud, were good friends and political comrades in arms throughout their lives.
The same, however, cannot be said about their sons, who are facing each other in the elections.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, the incumbent in Kota Tinggi, is facing Rosdin Taha Abd Rahman of Keadilan in a straight fight.
It will be the second outing for Syed Hamid, who beat PAS candidate Mohamed Hanipa Maidin by 33,769 votes in 1995, while Rosdin is making his debut as a candidate.
As both men know each other well, it was a surprise for Syed Hamid to see Rosdin on nomination day.
"He was taken aback when I filed my nomination papers. He was expecting someone else to fight him," said Rosdin, 35, adding that the decision was made by his party's central committee and he was in no position to object.
Rosdin's younger brother, Rosdan 33, is also contesting on a Keadilan ticket--for the state seat of Kukup against Jamilah Endan from Barisan Nasional.
Rosdan, however, is no newcomer to politics. He stood against Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the Pagoh parliamentary seat in the 1995 elections on a Semangat 46 ticket but lost.
His brother and he had been exposed to politics since young as they used to accompany their father during election campaigns.
"When the original Umno was declared illegal, my father joined Semangat until his death in 1997 and we followed in his footsteps.
"But after Semangat was dissolved, we did not join Umno as a matter of principle.
"When Keadilan was formed, we saw our opportunity to be active again and together with many others from Semangat, we joined the party," said Rosdan.
Their mother, Datin Hasnah Abd Wahab, 66, a retired school teacher, said she had no objections to her sons' involvement in politics and supported their stand.
According to Hasnah, her late husband had been in Umno since he was 15 and all his life he had been close to the people and championing their struggles, particularly the landless.
"But at the end of the day, none of my six children were given land to build their homes and are now living under the same roof with me in this old house bought by my late husband.
"I pray that Allah will bless them with strength and success to enable them to continue the struggles of their late father," she said.