Zahid will make a final decision today on whether he will replace Noh.
The fate of Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar is still in the balance as talks over whether he will be fielded by BN to contest in Tanjong Karang for the seventh time are still underway.
Party insiders say BN chairperson Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will make a final decision today on whether he will replace Noh, a cabinet minister, with the local Wanita chief, Habibah Mohd Yusof.
A source close to the Umno president’s office claimed that Noh’s name had not been picked for the upcoming 15th general election but he is still making his case.
“He (Noh) is still trying his best to pujuk (persuade) the president (to let him defend the seat).
“The plan was to put his (division’s) Wanita chief Bibah (Habibah) instead. But it was still being negotiated,” said the source.
Asked why there was a plan to drop Noh from contesting, the party insider claimed that the veteran politician had been seen as being a “liability” but did not elaborate.
On Tuesday, Umno president Zahid announced the names of candidates that the coalition had picked to contest in GE15.
It saw 13 incumbent BN MPs dropped, namely party veterans Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (Pasir Salak), Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar), Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Padang Besar), Shahidan Kassim (Arau), Annuar Musa (Ketereh), Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut), Ismail Abdul Muttalib (Maran), Dr Adham Baba (Tenggara) and Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Kota Tinggi).
However, candidates for six parliamentary seats were not announced during the event, including Tanjong Karang, with Zahid later telling reporters that they are “to be finalised soon”.
The incumbent MPs dropped from BN’s list for GE15 include those who were known to be not aligned with Zahid, such as Tajuddin, Shahidan and Annuar, in the rift within Umno.
As for Noh, sources previously told Malaysiakini that Umno’s national leaders had been at odds with him. This was due to Noh allegedly holding talks with parties outside the BN coalition in Selangor.
However, the Selangor Umno chief may still be in Zahid’s good graces, as he was among the 13 Umno MPs who backed Zahid’s move to withdraw its support for then-prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin in July last year.
Noh first won the Tanjong Karang in 1995 and has managed to retain it in every election since. He is now in his sixth term.
In 2018, he won with a slight majority of 1,970 against Bersatu’s candidate who garnered 15,626 votes and PAS’ candidate who received 7,276 votes.
Malaysiakini has tried to reach Noh for comments on the matter.
Meanwhile, Habibah when contacted confirmed that she had been approached by Umno leadership to stand as a candidate in Tanjong Karang.
She said there was no decision yet and she also has not received the watikah (appointment letter) from the party.
“To me, I leave it to the party president, because it is his prerogative to decide on candidates. As a party loyalist, I will abide by any decision that the leadership makes,” she said.
Habibah, who is also Wanita Umno’s national exco member, added that the division had submitted a total of five names to Zahid for consideration.
Thus, she said, the president should be allowed to make his decision.
“When the president makes a decision, we should accept it with an open heart…
“And as a Muslim, I hold to the sixth Rukun Iman (pillar of faith), which is qada’ and qadar (fate and God’s decree), as Allah knows what is best for us.”
Asked whether she fears any retaliation from the Umno division if Noh was not picked as the candidate, Habibah said she is confident that the party grassroots would support anyone decided by Umno’s top leadership.
“I have been in Tanjong Karang politics for 32 years. Based on my experience here, the grassroots are very loyal to the party.
“They have a very strong root in Umno, so whoever the leadership sends as a candidate, they will support. They will not back down,” she said. – Malaysiakini