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From Cleo to Lando and Tok Mat to Tok Met: Who are behind these nicknames in GE15 ballot papers?

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Names evoking the Chinese God of Fortune, an Egyptian queen, and a Hokkien vulgarity were among the monikers used by some candidates in this 15th general election (GE15).

In Malaysia, the Elections Regulations 1981 allows for candidates to put down any name they wish to be known as on the ballot papers.

The Election Commission (EC) will then verify the identity and validity of each candidate, but they are not required to vet these names — leading to sometimes hilarious results.

Malay Mail takes a look at some of the pseudonyms, nicknames or similar stylisations used this year as seen on the EC’s GE15 dashboard.

Too Gao Lan

The name Too Gao Lan, was put down on nomination papers by Batu candidate Too Cheng Huat, which caused a stir with the press and social media stir last Saturday.

It sounds the same as a vulgar Hokkien phrase which means “very pissed off”, but one of Too’s spokesmen was quoted telling Sin Chew Daily that the name is just an abbreviation of their slogans.

He reportedly said that Gao is an initial for “give all out” and Lan for “let’s action now”.

Too is reportedly the chairman of Koperasi Grand Ages Kuala Lumpur Bhd.

Choy San Yeh a.k.a God of Fortune

An independent candidate in Seputeh also caused a commotion for contesting under the name Choy San Yeh — which sounds similar to the Cantonese name for the Chinese God of Fortune.

According to a Sin Chew Daily report, Choy was nominated by a proxy, purportedly his 44-year-old twin sister, as he had contracted Covid-19.

The sister reportedly did not give media personnel an interview and did not want to disclose her name. China Press would later report Choy’s real name as Lian Choy Ling.

Independent candidate Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddin or Cleo arrives at the nomination centre to hand over election documents on nomination day at SMK Sentul Utama in Kuala Lumpur, November 5, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Independent candidate Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddin or Cleo arrives at the nomination centre to hand over election documents on nomination day at SMK Sentul Utama in Kuala Lumpur, November 5, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Independent candidate Nur Fathiah Syazwana Shaharuddin or Cleo arrives at the nomination centre to hand over election documents on nomination day at SMK Sentul Utama in Kuala Lumpur, November 5, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Cleo

Another Batu independent candidate, Nur Fathiah Syazwana, included her moniker “Cleo” in the ballot papers.

Nur Fathiah is a social media personality, entrepreneur, founder of non-governmental organisation Hetero Action Women Alliance (Hawa), and a single mother of two children.

She is more well known by the name “Cleopatra”, which she previously used on her social media accounts.

Historically, Cleopatra was a queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt who ruled between 51 and 30 BC.

Uncle Kentang

Uncle Kentang (Malay for “Uncle Potato”) came into the media spotlight in 2017 after creating a hotel for the homeless which cost them RM1 per night.

He had also previously been involved in a market that sold used items to the poor for 10 sen, whether the item was a washing machine or a T-shirt.

The philanthropist, whose real name is Kuan Chee Heng, has also established himself as a social media personality and posts of his various social aid efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic garnered thousands of views.

In an interview with Berita Harian, Kuan — who is contesting in Puchong as an independent candidate — said the area has been his home for the past 25 years and he wanted to represent residents there who are tired of political conflicts.

The philanthropist, whose real name is Kuan Chee Heng, has also established himself as a social media personality and posts of his various social aid efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic garnered thousands of views. — Picture from Facebook/Uncle Kentang
The philanthropist, whose real name is Kuan Chee Heng, has also established himself as a social media personality and posts of his various social aid efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic garnered thousands of views. — Picture from Facebook/Uncle Kentang

The philanthropist, whose real name is Kuan Chee Heng, has also established himself as a social media personality and posts of his various social aid efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic garnered thousands of views. — Picture from Facebook/Uncle Kentang

Lando Brotherhood

Azlan Sani Zawawi, better known as Lando Zawawi, is a former actor and founder of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) named Ikatan Silaturahim Brotherhood.

Lando and members of the “Brotherhood” have been using their personal funds to cover potholes across Malaysia since 2007 and have also been advocating for safer roads.

He was named as a contestant under Gerakan Tanah Air (GTA) after he joined the coalition under the NGO coalition Gagasan Bangsa, and would contest under the logo of Parti Pejuang Tanahair.

However, it was recently reported that Lando has indeed joined Pejuang — citing the party as the only one that would impose the death penalty or another heavy penalty on criminals convicted of corruption offences involving more the RM100,000.

Sifu Linda

Nurhaslinda Basri, 33, is contesting under the name Sifu Linda as an independent in Sungai Buloh in Selangor.

In an interview with Sinar Harian, she reportedly said that she was a native of Kampung Kedondong in Sungai Buloh and is experienced in online marketing.

There is a Facebook page named Sifu Linda and a Twitter page named Akademi Sifu Linda with several online marketing-related posts as well as posts regarding access to social aid.

Joe Aziz

Aziz Ismail, better known as Joe Aziz, is a media personality and a travel show host who hosted the Malay fishing shows Kail Pagi Makan Petang that aired on Astro Prima in 2018, and Lubuk that is available on the Unifi TV streaming service.

Aziz will be contesting at Sembrong, Johor under a Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket as a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia member.

Datuk D

PKR’s candidate for Tanah Merah, Datuk Seri Mohamad Suparadi Md Noor, will only be named as Datuk D in the ballots.

He was recently under the media spotlight for having the highest value of net assets among all PKR candidates so far at RM106.1 million.

Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan arrives at the Dewan Seri Rembau nomination centre, November 5, 2022. —Picture by Raymond Manuel
Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan arrives at the Dewan Seri Rembau nomination centre, November 5, 2022. —Picture by Raymond Manuel

Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan arrives at the Dewan Seri Rembau nomination centre, November 5, 2022. —Picture by Raymond Manuel

Special mentions:

There were many uses of prefixes, such as Abe, or abang (Malay for brother) in the east coast dialect. There are four contestants using Abe: independent Abe Wae in Pengkalan Chepa, Abe Haneef of Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) in Ketereh, Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) Abe Yo in Gua Musang, and Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Abe Zul in Besut.

Similarly, kakak or “sister” is also used by four candidates: such as PAS’ Datuk Siti Zailah Mohd Yusoff as Kak Lah (PN-Rantau Panjang), #BenderaPutih founder and activist Nik Faizah Nik Othman as Kak Jah (PH-Pengkalan Chepa), Kak Taz (PN-Tumpat), and Kak Long (BN-Kubang Kerian).

Older than both abang and kak is the prefix Tok, used usually to denote either a grandfather or a much older and respected person. The most famous Toks are Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan or Tok Mat (BN-Rembau) and Pejuang’s Tok Met or Amiruddin Hamzah (GTA-Kubang Pasu).

There are several who use Cikgu or “teacher” such as Malaysian United Democratic Alliance’s (Muda) Cikgu Rahayu or Siti Rahayu Baharin who will contest Tanjong Karang, or Ustaz or “Islamic teacher” such as PAS’ Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man who will be known as “Ustaz Dato Tuan Ibrahim” in Kubang Kerian.