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The haunting question for BN in Selangor

  • Some say Umno is reluctant to announce its MB candidate because it is not confident of winning Selangor.

By Mohsin Abdullah

BN loves to provoke its opponents to name their candidate for prime minister should they win the federal elections.

Should the opposition not do that, they be accused of indecisiveness, or being at loggerheads and unable to agree.

Should the opposition do name their choice, they will be accused of putting the horse before the cart, i.e. wishful thinking of the PM post at a time when the election has not been won.

And the opposition candidate would be accused of being a Malay who is "subservient to anti-Malay and anti-Islam DAP".

It's some sort of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't ".

Nevertheless, Pakatan Rakyat previously and Pakatan Harapan currently did respond by naming its PM candidate of choice long before the elections, saying this is their way of showing they are ready to take over the running of the country.

However, BN's provocation has come back to haunt them, particularly in Selangor, the question being who is BN's choice for menteri besar should it come into power in the state.

Doing the asking is not Pakatan Harapan though, rather the men in the street, the so-called fence-sitters and the media, even the pro-BN media.

And the question is being asked over and over again, so much so when the Selangor BN unveiled its GE14 manifesto for the state, one observation made was that the coalition did not name its candidate to lead the state, not even a mention in passing.

But, that has always been the Umno stance. The BN candidate for the MB post will come from Umno. That we all know. Umno, however, has been keeping mum.

Umno vice president carrying out the duties of deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said his party would not reveal the name of the candidate for the MB post before GE14. He said this at the end of last year.

But somehow he saw it right to say in public that Tan Sri Noh Omar, the Selangor Umno chief, has "informed party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he is not interested to be menteri besar.

Noh on his part later confirmed to the media that being the MB was not in his agenda, but "it all depends on the leadership".

It's no big secret that there are camps within Selangor Umno despite Zahid declaring all that was a thing of the past, and "there are no more camps now in Selangor Umno".

And it's an open secret there are people in Selangor Umno who are not too keen on Noh, and that is putting it mildly even as Umno state head, what more menteri besar.

But he got his band of supporters and loyalists. That cannot be denied.

So, not naming their candidate of choice can be seen as a way of neutralizing things or keeping everyone happy, for now.

After the Selangor BN manifesto was announced a few days ago (by Noh), I asked a well-placed Selangor Umno source who their choice for MB is, or at least the names the party leadership is considering.

The source told me the party "had not mentioned any name" but pointed to a Berita Harian report sometime back which gave three names: Datuk Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan, deputy chairman of Selangor Umno, Datuk Johan Abdul Aziz, state Umno secretary and incumbent Sungai Panjang assemblyman Budiman Mohd Zohdi.

Part of the Media Prima stable, Berita Harian is Umno-linked but despite that, their report on the issue is best described as "speculative".

Detractors are saying Umno's reluctance to announce its MB candidate "is because the party as well as the BN coalition are not confident of winning Selangor in GE14."

I won't comment on that, but I'll just say the obvious. Win the state first before tackling the MB issue.

Perhaps that was what Zahid meant when he said BN would only name their choice after GE14.

But the big question remains: can BN win Selangor despite the recent Election Commission delineation exercise said to be giving advantage to Umno?

(Mohsin Abdullah is a veteran journalist who writes about this, that and everything else.)



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