IPOH: Malaysia’s “Raja Bomoh”, or self-styled king of shamans, has announced his intent to run as an independent candidate for Bagan Datuk federal constituency in Perak state for the upcoming general election.
The 68-year-old, whose real name is Ibrahim Mat Zin, could face off against Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who won with a majority of 2,108 votes in 2013, if he successfully files his nomination papers on Apr 28.
Ibrahim gained international notoriety when he conducted a series of rituals to help the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in 2014.
One of the ceremonies involved bamboo binoculars while another involved two coconuts and what he described as a magic carpet, which he claimed could weaken the "spirits" that were holding the missing plane.
Speaking at a media conference on Tuesday (Apr 17), the founder and president of the Malaysian Seni Silat Gayung Ghaib association said he was spurred to run for office following the encouragement of his Bagan Datuk acquaintances and silat students.
Announcing his candidacy, Ibrahim recounted how he "just held up two coconuts and became an instant global star".
He also pledged to donate his monthly salary as member of parliament if elected.
"I am contesting for the sake of the people. I will help the people with financial support from my salary if I win," he said.
The silat association's deputy president, Leman Kanaullah, also announced his intent to contest in the state constituency of Pangkor.
Malaysia goes to the polls on May 9, its first weekday vote in nearly 20 years.
Last March, Ibrahim performed a public ritual to “protect” Malaysia from "foreign attacks" amid heightened tensions with North Korea, following the assassination of Kim Jong Nam at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
A viral video showed him conducting the ritual on a beach, where he waved two coconuts and displayed several bamboo “cannons”.
The following month, Ibrahim pled guilty to charges of insulting and tarnishing the image of Islam after police and religious authorities condemned his rituals as contradicting syariah law.