Mohamad Sabu

Mohamad bin Sabu (Jawi: محمد بن سابو), commonly known as Mat Sabu , is a Malaysian politician who is the founder of National Trust Party (AMANAH), a component party of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition. He is the incumbent Minister of Defence.

Mohamad Sabu

محمد بن سابو
Sabu at The Pentagon in 2018
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
21 May 2018
MonarchMuhammad V
Prime MinisterMahathir Mohamad
DeputyLiew Chin Tong
Preceded byHishamuddin Hussein
ConstituencyKota Raja
Member of Parliament
for P111 Kota Raja, Selangor
Assumed office
10 May 2018
Preceded bySiti Mariah Mahmud
Majority71,142 (2018)
Member of Parliament
for P010 Kuala Kedah, Kedah
In office
29 November 1999  21 March 2004
Preceded byZakaria Mohd Said
Succeeded byHashim Jahaya
Majority991 (1999)
Member of Parliament
for P024 Kubang Kerian, Kelantan
In office
25 April 1995  29 November 1999
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byHusam Musa
Majority10,125 (1995)
Member of Parliament
for P022 Nilam Puri, Kelantan
In office
21 October 1990  25 April 1995
Preceded byMat bin Haji Ali
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Majority8,139 (1990)
Personal details
Mohamad bin Sabu

(1954-10-14) 14 October 1954
Tasek Gelugor, Penang, Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia)
Nationality Malaysia
Political partyPAS (1981-2015)
AMANAH (2015-present)
Spouse(s)Normah Alwi
ResidenceSection 19, Shah Alam, Selangor

Mat Sabu was formerly the deputy president of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS). He was elected to the post in 2011, running on a moderate platform against the conservative incumbent Nasharudin Mat Isa. He had previously served as one of the party's vice-presidents.[1] He was the first non-alim elected to the party's leadership or deputy leadership in over 25 years.[2]

On 13 July 2015, Mat Sabu and other progressive PAS leaders referred to as the G18 were ousted at the 2015 PAS Muktamar.[3] This led them to launch Gerakan Harapan Baru (GHB),[4] which took over the dormant Malaysian Workers' Party,[5] after their attempt to form a new party called Parti Progresif Islam (PPI) was rejected by the Home Affairs Ministry.[6][7] GHB was later rebranded as Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) with Mat Sabu as its first President.[8][9]

Mat Sabu is known for his public speaking abilities.[2] He was detained twice under Malaysia's now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).[10]


Mat Sabu attended school in Penang before continued his studies at MARA Institute of Technology (now Universiti Teknologi MARA; UiTM) in Diploma in Culinary Arts. However, he did not complete the course.

Political career

Early career

Mat Sabu's political career began when he joined the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) in 1975. He joined PAS in 1981.[11]

Operation Lalang

He was detained twice under the Internal Security Act (ISA): from 1984 to 1986 under charges of being involved in extremist movements, and from 1987 to 1989 as a result of Operation Lalang, an operation that remains controversial in Malaysian politics.[11][12] He was detained in the Kamunting Detention Center together with Lim Kit Siang and his son Lim Guan Eng of the Democratic Action Party (DAP). During his two years in the detention centre, Mat Sabu entered into a friendship with the father and son and defended the duo and their party from accusations of racism in 2017.[13]

Minister of Defence

In the 14th Malaysian General Elections in May 2018, Pakatan Harapan won. On 13 May 2018, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad named three key members of his Cabinet along with a Council of Eminent Persons (CEP). Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president Muhyiddin Yassin was made Home Minister, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng was appointed Finance Minister, while AMANAH president Mat Sabu was named Defence Minister.

On 28 June 2018, Mat Sabu announced that Malaysia will withdraw its troops stationed in Saudi Arabia to reflect the country's neutrality in the region.[14]

On 31 July 2018, Mat Sabu revealed to the press that only four of the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) 28 Russian fighter jets were operational.[15] This revelation was criticized by the veterans organisation Patriot and its president Arshad Raji as improper as it revealed the Royal Malaysian Air Force's level of preparedness.[16]


Statement over the Bukit Kepong incident

On 21 August 2011 during a speech in Gelugor, Penang, Mat Sabu stated that it was Muhammad Indera and the 200 Malayan Communist Party (CPM) soldiers who participated in the Bukit Kepong Incident in 1950 who deserved to be proclaimed as national heroes and not the police officers who died defending the Bukit Kepong police station, claiming that the police officers were "British officers" and the CPM soldiers were the "true national heroes" as they "fought the British". A video of the speech was uploaded on YouTube and received mainly negative responses, as the statement was regarded as an insult to the family members of the deceased policemen,[17] as well as other national heroes not affiliated with the CPM such as the late Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and UMNO founder Dato' Onn Jaafar.[18]

On 30 August 2011, Karpal Singh, the Bukit Gelugor MP at the time, responded by saying that the 25 policemen who died were true patriots and that Mat Sabu's statements were ill-advised.[19]

However, PAS denied all the allegations and defended Mat Sabu's statement and claims.[20]

On 1 September 2011, Mat Sabu also dispute the services of Sergeant Hassan defending the homeland.

On 20 September 2011, his home was splashed with kerosene and burned. His home in Section 19, Shah Alam was occupied by his son. His wife Normah Alwi (57) took care of his parents who were admitted to Kangar Hospital, Perlis. A police report was lodged at Section 15 of the Police Station, Shah Alam.

On 21 September 2011, Mat Sabu was charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code at the Butterworth Sessions Court for aggravating the image of their police and their families in a talk at Padang Menora on Aug 21, 2011. Lawyer Mohamed Hanipa Maidin said Mat Sabu was released on bail of RM15,000 until the day of trial. If convicted, Mohamad can be jailed up to two years, or fined or both.

Son arrested by the police

On January 5, 2019, Mat Sabu's son, Ahmad Saiful Islam Mohamad, was arrested with 100 others for testing positive for drugs in Kuala Lumpur.[21] The case is being investigated under Section 15(1)(A) of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952 for drug abuse.[21]


On February 17, 2011, Mat Sabu's mother, Halijah Mat, (91 years old) died at Kampung Guar Petai, Tasek Gelugor, Seberang Perai, Penang. His mother had been attacked by three strokes. Her body was held at the Padang Menora Mosque. Mohamad Sabu has seven siblings, namely Fatimah, Abdullah, Zainab, Sofiah, Mohamad, Kasim and Zaleha.

Election results

Parliament of Malaysia[22][23][24][25][26]
Year Constituency Votes Pct Opponent(s) Votes Pct Ballots cast Majority Turnout
1982 Kepala Batas Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 4,115 16.82% Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (UMNO) 16,759 68.51% 25,277 12,644 80.29%
Khoo Siew Hoe (DAP) 3,589 14.67%
1986 Permatang Pauh Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 7,500 29.44% Anwar Ibrahim (UMNO) 17,979 70.56% 26,098 10,479 74.82%
1990 Nilam Puri Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 19,596 62.05% Annuar Musa (UMNO) 11,457 36.28% 32,381 8,139 80.42%
Kamarudin (IND) 526 1.67%
1995 Kubang Kerian Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 21,377 65.52% Mat Zin Awang (UMNO) 11,252 34.48% 33,550 10,125 75.74%
1999 Kuala Kedah Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 23,548 51.04% Fauzi Abdul Hamid (UMNO) 22,557 48.90% 46,781 991 76.55%
2004 Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 26,493 41.85% Hashim Jahaya (UMNO) 36,707 57.98% 64,332 10,214 81.65%
2008 Kuala Terengganu Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 31,934 48.90% Razali Ismail (UMNO) 32,562 49.87% 66,231 628 82.45%
Maimun Yusuf (IND) 685 1.05%
2013 Pendang Mohamad Sabu (PAS) 29,527 47.71% Othman Abdul (UMNO) 32,165 51.97% 62,649 2,638 89.33%
2018 Kota Raja Mohamad Sabu (AMANAH) 90,697 70.79% V. Gunalan (MIC) 17,874 15.26% 128,126 71,142 86.80%
Mohamed Diah Baharun (PAS) 19,555 13.95%

See also


  1. Habibu, Sira (4 June 2011). "PAS polls result: Mat Sabu is new deputy, ulama lose out". The Star. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  2. Tan, Joceline (5 June 2011). "Uncharted road ahead for PAS". The Star. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  3. FMT Reporters (31 August 2015). "Seven rebel MPs ditch PAS for breakaway GHB". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  4. Jennifer Gomez (13 July 2015). "'Purged' PAS leaders launch splinter movement". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  5. Ram Anand (31 August 2015). "GHB to take over dormant Workers Party". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  6. "GHB ambil alih Parti Pekerja Malaysia". Berita Harian. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  7. Adrian Lai (31 August 2015). "GHB to form new Islamic party under existing political vehicle". New Straits Times. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  8. Khairunnisa Kasnoon (31 August 2015). "Parti Amanah Negara jadi wadah politik GHB". Astro Awani. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  9. Rahmah Ghazali (31 August 2015). "GHB announces setting up of Parti Amanah Negara". The Star Online. Retrieved 9 September 2015.
  10. Tan, Sharon (2 June 2009). "Mat Sabu likes the "progressive" way". Malaysia Today. Retrieved 5 June 2011.
  11. "Mat Sabu, from renowned speaker to minister", The Sun Daily, 12 May 2018
  12. Kasthuri Patto, The ghost of the Internal Security Act and Operasi Lalang 1987 continues to haunt and terrify a nation,, 27 October 2013.
  13. 在扣留营跟吉祥父子变朋友!末沙布:我知火箭不种族主义),, 25 October 2017.
  15. "Mat Sabu: Only four out of RMAF's 28 Russian fighter jets can fly - Nation | The Star Online". Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  16. "Veteran: Improper to reveal that only 4 fighter jets can fly". Free Malaysia Today. 2 August 2018. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
  17. "Waris tragedi Bukit Kepong tersinggung" (in Malay). Utusan Malaysia. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  18. "Mat Sabu's remarks an insult, says Muhyiddin". The Star. 28 August 2011. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  19. Bukit Kepong Tragedy: The 25 Policemen Were True Nationalists, Says Karpal, The Malaysian Mirror, 30 August 2011
  20. "Isu sebenar ceramah Md Sabu" (in Malay). Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  21. Charles Ramendran (6 January 2019). "Mohamad Sabu stands firm despite son's arrest". The Sun Daily. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  22. "Keputusan Pilihan Raya Umum Parlimen/Dewan Undangan Negeri" (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 5 June 2016. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
  23. "KEPUTUSAN PILIHAN RAYA UMUM 13". Sistem Pengurusan Maklumat Pilihan Raya Umum (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 24 March 2017.Results only available for the 2013 election.
  24. "Malaysia General Election". undiinfo Malaysian Election Data. Malaysiakini. Retrieved 4 February 2017. Results only available from the 2004 election.
  25. "SEMAKAN KEPUTUSAN PILIHAN RAYA UMUM KE - 14" (in Malay). Election Commission of Malaysia. Retrieved 17 May 2018. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
  26. "The Star Online GE14". The Star. Retrieved 24 May 2018. Percentage figures based on total turnout.
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