Sunday, April 14, 2013
AS the battle lines are being drawn for the 13th General Election, Barisan Nasional will today and tomorrow unveil its candidates and one thing is certain — this will be BN’s dream team.
A line-up made up of a balance of new and old, experience and exuberance, wisdom and a burning passion to serve, these are men and women who had not only acquitted themselves well in the past five years but also delivered
consistently and shown that they have the people’s interests at heart. For result-oriented Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, they are the best of the best.
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They will be the driver and overriding factor in Najib’s consideration of the needs of the people, their aspirations and their ability to carry out the “Akujanji” as outlined in the BN manifesto.
Malaysians will see how the meticulously drawn-up list not only features those who meet their aspirations and expectations but also reflects a strong, collective leadership that will raise confidence in the electorate beyond this polls and into successive elections.
The line-up will also reflect BN’s efforts in grooming talent that possess the ability and qualifications beyond oratory skills, to cement their confidence in a BN-led government.
Today's unveiling of the BN candidates' list is a departure from the norm. Previously, the list would be announced on the eve of nomination day. In preparing for what is expected to be the most challenging general election in the country's history, BN had also tweaked its strategy by moving forward the day it made public its manifesto.
BN members also saw how the leadership took pains to address the disappointment of some hopefuls by getting them all under one roof to drive home the message that the party was above all else.
With just a few hours to go, many leaders, including those who had contested under the BN banner in the past, are in jitters over the uncertainty of being picked or asked to sit this election out.
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, who is BN secretary-general, said candidates would be those endorsed fully by the electorate at the constituencies where they would be fielded.
He said the BN leadership had also carried out surveys to ascertain the reception of the people towards candidates to be fielded in every constituency.
The survey and "referendum" on the candidates, he said were carried out by three independent bodies for the leadership to gauge the sentiments of the people towards the names of the potential as well as shortlisted candidates.
Several names tipped to be leading BN in the general election include Umno division secretary Rozman in Labuan. He is the son of former Labuan Umno chief Datuk Isli Siput, the force behind the entry of Umno into Labuan.
Dental specialist Dr Rozaidah Talib is likely to return to Ampang, the parliamentary seat she won in the 2004 general election. BN lost the seat to PKR's Zuraida Kamaruddin in 2008.
Dr Rozaidah, who admitted to getting hints of her candidacy in Ampang, said and if it materialised, she knew exactly what the people in the area would expect of her if she was their leader.
"If I am chosen, I would like to believe that it is because of my track record," she said.
Other names that have cropped up to be fielded include new faces but not lacking knowledge of strategies and leadership qualities with experience of serving organisations.
Selangor will set out 36 new faces, including non-governmental organisation leaders and professionals, to wrest state seats won by the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in the 2008 election.
The fiery former Kulim-Bandar Baharu member of parliament Datuk Zulkifli Noordin is likely to be announced as the candidate to wrest the Shah Alam parliamentary seat from Pas' Khalid Samad.
Tengku Adnan said the party leadership's decision on its candidates weighed on several critical factors, including age and track record.
The leadership, he added, also went through the track record and report card of candidates with a fine-tooth comb, before pinning down the final names.
"Their track record was a major point of consideration.
"The leadership also looked into the issue of liability, including how people in the area viewed him or her.
"It is crucial for issue of perception to be addressed thoroughly as BN candidates must be those that the people can accept wholeheartedly," he told the New Straits Times.
BN, he said, was also determined to ensure that its candidates were not saddled with health issues as it wanted only leaders who could best serve their constituents.
Tengku Adnan also told those not picked to keep their chin up and give their undivided loyalty to those bearing the BN flag in the general election. Their supporters, he added, should do the same.
"These changes (to candidates) must understand why this (being dropped) had to be done as we need to move forward.
"The candidates were chosen because they are individuals who can become excellent wakil rakyat and serve impeccably as problem solvers for the people while improving constituents' wellbeing.
"This is in tandem with the BN government's 'People First' concept."
Tengku Adnan, who had been the only member of parliament for Putrajaya, added that there would be a good mix of new and professionals as well as the young and old.
"The spirit of 'party above self' is also highly evident ... There were a number of new faces whom the leadership wanted to field as candidates but they declined saying it was not their time.
"Aside from saying there were not ready for the heavy responsibility, they felt that they might not have what it takes be 'enslaved' to voters."
Meanwhile, several state directors of elections have made their way to Kuala Lumpur as Najib is scheduled to hand over the letters of authorisation (watikah) to them at 11am today.
Checks at the states showed preparations were being made for the directors to pass on the watikah to the chosen candidates .