KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1
Tan Sri Mohamed Rahmat, the controversial government strategist and propagandist, died this morning. He was 71.
Tok Mat, as he was known by all, was Minister of Information for two terms; from 1978-1982 and 1987-1999, during which time he produced many patriotic songs like "Setia" which was very often sung together with "Negaraku" during school assemblies.
He also served as Malaysia's ambassador to Indonesia from 1982 to 1987.
He wrote a book "Umno: Akhir Sebuah Impian", which was launched in October, which he called a "teaser of more to come". Many thought it would be a tell-all book, detailing what went on in Umno and how he created and managed his many "propaganda" campaigns.
Tok Mat is Malaysia most popular and powerful Information Minister. He managed to counter Mahathir dictatorship labelled by the wests
Many had hoped the book would spill the beans on his relationship with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. In fact, some detractors were sure "Umno: Akhir Sebuah Impian" would be a hatchet job against Dr Mahathir as the relationship between the two men in the last few years had been tense.
But ever the gentleman, Tok Mat said at the book launch he had no quarrel with the fourth prime minister. He said then that he wrote the book because of love. Love for the party and love for the country.
A patriot to the end, Tok Mat had been in frail health for years and feistily referred to the last few months as "borrowed time".
He will be laid to rest at the Bukit Kiara Muslim cemetery here after Asar prayers today.
The public can pay their last respects at his house at 42 Jalan Setiajaya, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.
Agi Idup Agi Ngelaban