Only Barisan Nasional (BN) has announced its “Poster Boy”, or chief minister candidate, although the three coalitions slugging it out in the Melaka state election started naming their candidates for the various constituencies on Friday.
The “Poster Boy” of BN is Datuk Seri Sulaiman Md Ali, who was the chief minister until four elected representatives withdrew support for him and triggered the state election. BN comprises Umno, MCA, MIC and Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah.
The other two major blocs in the fray — Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) — have been coy about their chief minister candidate although the names of several senior leaders have been bandied about unofficially.
Those said to be in the running for the top job should PN win are Srikandi Bersatu vice-chief and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin and Bersatu vice-president Datuk Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen
On the PH side, Selangor PKR chairman and Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari, in a press conference today, said the coalition has many candidates who are qualified to be the chief minister, including former chief ministers Datuk Seri Idris Haron and Adly Zahari.
Amanah secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli and DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke want Adly, who is Melaka PH chairman, to be appointed chief minister if PH wins while PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has been non-committal on the matter.
Senior lecturer Che Hamdan Che Mohd Razali told Bernama that while it is important for parties to name their chief minister candidates to instil public confidence, those nominated must be strong personalities who can hold the component parties together to prevent defections in the future.
“In the party context, the chief minister candidate must an individual acceptable to all quarters so that there will not be any more incidents of party hopping, which are detrimental to the people.
“In the case of Melaka, there have been two governments (since 2018) and the government to be formed after this must be a stable one,” said Che Hamdan, who is from the Administrative Science and Policy Studies Faculty of Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Raub, Pahang.
Che Hamdan said the delay by PN and PH to name their chief minister candidates could be a strategy.
“PH may be doing this to pull votes from supporters of Adly and Idris. Nevertheless, there could also be disagreements in PH in deciding their chief minister candidate,” he added.
His view was shared by Prof Sivamurugan Pandian, who said it would be hard for parties to convince voters without naming their potential chief minister.
“In 2008 in Penang, BN failed to name its chief minister candidate. There was then a tussle resulting in DAP declaring that a vote for BN is a vote for an Umno chief minister, and this caused the downfall of the BN government,” he said in a Bernama TV programme on the nominations for the polls yesterday.
“In the current context, even if candidates are contesting on the strength of their integrity, the three major coalitions should name their chief minister candidates to make clear the direction for Melaka,” he said.
Early voting for the polls is on November 16 and polling is on November 20.