Monday, April 15, 2013

GE13: Many new faces in Barisan line-up

United we stand: Najib and other Barisan leaders holding up their hands in a gesture of unity after presenting the list of Barisan candidates to the component parties’ presidents and state chiefs.

Barisan Nasional is fielding new faces for a third of the 222 parliamentary seats and almost half the 505 state constituencies in the general election.

These fresh and “untested” candidates are part of a winnable line-up Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dubbed the “Barisan Nasional Transformation Team” a line-up that he said could meet the people's expectations and deliver all its manifesto pledges.

On whether the high number of newcomers would result in more aspirants feeling disappointed at not being picked, the Prime Minister and Barisan chairman replied: “I am more worried about the disappointment of the rakyat.”

Najib said 91% of the line-up had at least a diploma qualification and among them were lawyers, doctors, ulama, university professors and administrative and diplomatic officers.

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A number of them are popular grassroots leaders to ensure a balanced mix in the line-up.

He said the selection of candidates, to be unveiled today, had been a long process involving negotiations with component parties and state leaders.

“We took a long time to deliberate and consider because we needed to make sure that while there is renewal, there should also be experienced representatives in the Government.

“I am confident this is the strongest team we can field, able to implement our manifesto and help the Government make a success of the national transformation programmes,” Najib said after presenting the list of Barisan candidates to the component parties' presidents and state chiefs.

Barisan state chairmen will announce the coalition's full line-up today.

Najib, who is Selangor Barisan chief, will unveil the candidates for the state while his deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will name the contestants for the 11 seats in the Federal Territory.

Najib hoped the people would evaluate Barisan's line-up from the perspective of their ability to form a solid, strong and capable government to meet their needs and expectations.

“The principle that we have used in drawing up the list is to get a line-up capable of delivering all the pledges in our manifesto,” he said.

Najib said the line-up was drawn up to ensure a balance between the old and new faces.

“If all of them are new with no experience, this will restrict our ability to fulfil the people's aspirations,” he said.

Najib ruled out the possibility of last minute changes.

“This is the final list and although legally and technically we can still change, I hope no situation will arise which would require us to make any,” he said.

While the general election has been labelled “the mother of all battles”, Najib said it must not be hyped up to imply that something serious could happen to mar the democratic process.

“If you interpret this to mean that we are facing our biggest challenge, then the answer is yes, but we will manage it,” he said, adding that the polls would be intensely contested in cyberspace as well.

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