There are claims that the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidate selection for the upcoming general election was not done according to Umno’s constitution.
Keterah Umno division chief Tan Sri Annuar Musa said this was among rumours out there regarding BN’s candidates, in the wake of the oppositions’ announcement of candidate lists filled with “big and heavyweight” names.
“Prospective candidates (BN) have signed documents and certain oaths two days ago, then rumours started to spread.
He said there were rumours claiming many winnable candidates were cast aside or did not make it to the list, especially those who were close to the prime minister, although the candidates were those in the “WALI” category – winnable, acceptable and likeable.
The Star reported that a number of Umno ministers from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet will not make the cut to be on the list.
As of now, four ministers and a deputy minister are said to have been dropped. Also dropped are three other long-term Umno MPs.
Sources said that Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is likely to take this chance to cleanse the party of all those who have spoken up against him in the past year and shown their full defiance to Zahid by supporting Ismail Sabri to be the Prime Minister.
They are all seen as vocal supporters of Ismail Sabri and are deemed to have close ties with the Perikatan Nasional coalition, which helped formed the caretaker government.
Axing them, according to sources, will allow Zahid to be more certain only MPs of his choice will be made Cabinet members and if need be, garner enough support for the former deputy minister to get enough votes to be the next Prime Minister.
The ministers whose heads are likely to roll are Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa, National Unity Minister Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba.
The said deputy minister is Communications and Multimedia deputy minister Datuk Seri Zahidi Zainul Abidin.
Shahidan had openly announced on Oct 31 that he was dropped by calling it “the saddest night” and announcing the closure of all Barisan operational rooms in his constituency.
All 191 BN candidates are expected to be revealed today. While some major personalities such as Zahid and party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan are expected to defend their seats, the announcement could spring a few surprises.
The New Straits Times reported speaking to party insiders to get a glimpse of where key figures in BN will likely be placed in GE15 and what the future holds for them.
Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said will likely defend Pengerang for the fifth time, as will Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid in Padang Terap, which he first won in 2013.
As announced, Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has chosen Rembau as his battleground for GE15. Party insiders strongly indicated that former Rembau member of parliament Khairy Jamaluddin will be leaving Negri Sembilan and heading to the Klang Valley for the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat.
Former second finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani is a strong contender for the Titiwangsa seat, which he won in 2013, but lost in 2018, while caretaker Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz is earmarked for the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat.
Former Muar MP Datuk Seri Razali Ibrahim will head to Pagoh to battle former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, while former Perak menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir is set to try his luck in Lumut again after losing it in 2018 by just 400 votes.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, despite barely hanging on to the Ayer Hitam seat in 2018, will also be defending the seat he first won in 2004. Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng will be re-fielded to the Tanjung Piai seat, which he won in 2019.
MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon is expected to try his luck again in Tanjong Malim.
Former MCA president Tan Sri Liow Tiong Lai is set to attempt to recapture his old seat in Bentong that he lost in 2018.
MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran is expected to square off with PKR to wrest back the Sungai Siput seat while deputy president Datuk Seri M Saravanan will defend the Tapah seat, which he has held since 2008.
Though former Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz had announced he would not contest in GE15, it is understood Perak Umno has nevertheless submitted his name as the main contender.
In Pasir Salak, although former MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman’s Umno membership has been suspended for six years, the former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister appears determined to re-contest.