AS THE GE-13 COMES CLOSER – Who will be in the UMNO list?

As the GE-13 comes closer, who will be in the UMNO list?

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said with all the divisions having submitted their lists. Earlier this month Khairy Jamaluddin said UMNO Youth its list of proposed candidates at the end of the month.  Shahrizat too will submit the Wanita UMNO list accordingly. The Barisan Nasional (BN) will begin sending letters to leaders of component parties, requesting them to submit their list of candidates for the GE-13.

BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said, this followed a directive by BN chairman and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak. “The parties have been given two weeks to submit the list,” The GE-13 is coming near and UMNO/BN is in high spirits and high gear.

The criteria

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has not only  indicated that there will be many new faces fielded in the impending general election but he is serious in doing as Umno wants to present itself as a dynamic party that is willing to rejuvenate, face the realities of today and win.

Najib has also said that fresh faces would be chosen as candidates and a few incumbent elected representatives had indicated that they were willing to step aside. He had asked Umno elected representatives who were unpopular to exit gracefully as there was a need to make changes, particularly during elections.

The first UMNO leader to declare that he was not seeking re-election was Idris Jusoh the ex-Menteri Besar of Terengganu. He has rightly done so because he has no more future in UMNO and has continuously done so many things against UMNO in Terengganu from the day he was ousted. So Idris Jusoh and all his men will not be in the list. Then, after Idris Jusoh declared his intention, three Umno vice presidents said they were prepared not to be chosen as candidates in the next general election if they were deemed not popular. The three were Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal but do they sincerely willing to go? Of course not, they are much needed by Najib and when they said they were willing to be dropped, it was only lip service.

Based on the above and  on conventional wisdom the names the should be dropped from the list are based on three basis; firstly  those that have around too long and/or have volunteered to go, secondly those that have been tainted in one any or another and thirdly those not supporting Najib should all be dropped.

Those that will be dropped at random

Mahathir and Badawi should be out as both have passed their used by date. Ku Li has also passed his usefulness and now is more interested in promoting himself through Amanah. Daim is totally out of the picture.

Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is definitely out because it is glaringly obvious that she is a huge baggage. Kamilia Ibrahim is obviously against Najib and is in Muhyiddin’s side. Therefore all those associated with Kamilia will be dropped.

Isa Samad is another one to be dropped as he is entrusted with the FELDA matters and the people of Negeri Sembilan have had enough of him. Moreover Najib wants to have new faces. He should have been mothballed the day he was found guilty of corruption for buying votes.

Rais Yatim has been too long in the cabinet and has served under Mahathir, Badawi and now Najib. It is simply time for him to go. Moreover he is not that clean as what he has tried to portray himself to be. A blogger has slandered him saying that Rais raped his Indonesian maid. Rais has also not done much to boost Najib’s policies and image despite heading the Information Ministry, such that Najib has to engage others to supplement the little effort by Rais.

Jamaluddin Jarjis who was sent to the US is also out of the picture because he was sent there due to a scandal too.

Jamil Khir Baharom has disappointed Najib when he used the zakat money to pay for his legal fees. He was also queried on his huge and expensive bungalow. Jamil has not been cautious and has been seen as too greedy because within a short period of being a minister he has fallen into a controversy and being unIslamic.

Mashitah Ibrahim is another candidate with a religious background who has not done much and in fact lost in the 2008 GE-12.

Besides Idris Jusoh, Nazri Aziz has already voiced out his willingness to go. He too like Rais Yatim has been long in government serving under Mahathir, Badawi and Najib. He has his own family problem pertaining to his son’s actions to deal with. Despite saying that he has no control over his son’s actions, being a father, Nazri has soft spot for his son as he has high hopes for him and surely would not want his beloved son to be spoilt by his excesses. Nazri has also not been able to promote and capitalize on the Political Transformation Program (PTP) hailed by Najib both for Najib and himself despite Nazri being the de facto Law Minister, but instead he sounded more like a rouge and racist in defending UMNO which is not in tandem with Najib’s 1Malaysia.

Mohd Zin who is the MP of Sepang and currently is the chairman of the Malayan Railway (KTMB) although has been appointed as the BN Selangor Campaign Director will not be in the list. The chairmanship is a cold storage for him and his campaign directorship is to keep him within sight and not let him sabotage Selangor UMNO. Mohd Zin has been working very hard for himself in his area but he has not done much for Najib and Selangor UMNO and when he finds out that his name is not in the list, he is going to be very disappointed.

Khir Toyo is another tainted UMNO leader and Sabak Bernam UMNO MP Abd Rahman Bakri charged with the Majuikan scandal are obviously out of the picture.

Awang Adek and Azalina Othman are both tainted as have been exposed by the Whistleblower. Awang Adek in particular has not done anything much for UMNO in general. The money he received “not as bribes” were spent for his own advantage in his constituency. Azalina like Rafidah Aziz have already mothballed.

As the saying goes “do not repair if there is nothing wrong with it”, there will not be any changes in Melaka.

Lajim Ukim is definitely out, because the Sabah People Front (SPF), the other newly formed party, headed by Bahaman Anggap has been said to be on the verge of bagging Lajim Ukin to look after the Muslim bumiputera.

In Sabah the fate of Musa Aman has not been certain since he in embroiled in the timber now and his brother Anifah has been playing hard to get. Musa and Anifah together pose a threat to Najib as they have some clout over UMNO in Sabah. But if Shafie Apdal can convince Najib that he can deliver Sabah, Musa and Anifah will both be dropped. Najib can depend on Shafie and Salleh Keruak. Shafie is better for Sabah because he is not as shrewd as Musa in trying to get rich and Shafie is acceptable both by Najib and Muhyiddin.

Khairy Jamaluddin has also been put into cold storage by Najib when he was appointed to head the PUNB starting this month. Khairy has not been able to achieve what he was entrusted to do by Najib; to garner more votes from the Malay youth; instead he has not shown his consistent support for Najib on several issues. But the main reasons that Khairy will be dropped because he has been scheming to kick Najib out since his heyday being the de facto prime minister when Badawi was the PM; Najib and especially Rosmah simply have not been able to forgive Khairy. Therefore all those closely associated with Khairy in UMNO Youth will also not be in the list just like in Kamilia’s case.

Who are the new faces that could be in the list?

Najib is trying to recruit in new faces as candidates to strengthen his position, to ensure UMNO wins and to avoid taking sides in any seat being highly disputed by UMNO members both from within his camp and his opponents in that order. This will also be seen as rejuvenating UMNO.

However since UMNO has not been recruiting new talents for the past 30 years since Mahathir took power,  it not easy to find new faces to be fielded out on UMNO’s ticket. There can only be one or two new faces while the rest that have already making some foothold in UMNO will make the, majority in the list. Why should Najib take someone outside UMNO that will disappoint those already in?

Will there be hope for “party hoppers”? Like Zahrain Mohd Hashim Bayan Baru ex-PKR MP who is sought for his views on anything regarding his former boss Anwar Ibrahim. Then Zulkifli Nordin the Kulim-Bandar Baru ex-PKR MP, whose views are also sought on the same subject, and so outspoken when it comes to hitting out at his former party.

The list continues with names such as Ezam Mohd Nor and several others who had become “turncoats” and found new platforms .Latest to join the stable is Dr Hasan Ali, who criticizes his ex-party PAS each time he opens his mouth. There could be one or two re-cycled candidate like Muhammad Muhammad Taib. These hopefuls are just waiting for the offer from Najib but most probably they will not be given any place but will be compensated somehow to help UMNO. But they need to be placated to make sure they keep dancing to UMNO’s tune.

One of the new faces could be Omar bin Mustapha Ong, a unique candidate as he is a Muslim Chinese and well connected. This will give a lot of credence to UMNO especially amongst the Chinese community and as an eye opener for the Malays. Despite his association with Khairy and the Fourth Floor boys, he has been able to distance himself away from them and get closer with Najib, a continuance form his post as Omar Ong was Najib’s Special Function Officer when the latter the Deputy Prime Minister. When Najib bulldozed through his appointment in the Board of Petronas, this shows how must trust Najib has in him.

When people like Jamil Khir and Mashitah Ibrahim with religious background will be dropped, Ustaz Fathul Bari from the young UMNO ulama group could be another new face to be fielded this time, just to ensure that UMNO is still some religious touch and to show that the forty odd numbers of young Malay Muslim scholars who joined UMNO en masse last year headed by Fathul Bari indeed have something to be proud of.

Another new face from the corporate world Johari Abd Ghani the acting Titiwangsa UMNO chief, could also be in the list. He has been active in winning the hearts of the voters since the late Dr. Lo’ Lo’ of PAS fell ill.

But many in UMNO are not satisfied

If Najib still have Shahrizat, Jamil Khir Baharom, Awang Adek and the likes then the other rejected and non-performing UMNO members who have said that they will step down or will to accept that their names are not in the list, could have a change of heart, “if Sharizat can stay why can’t we,” is the question lingering in the corridors of power now.

To stay as UMNO president and the Prime Minister after the GE-13, Najib must throw out all or at least the majority of Muhyiddin’s men and those of his opponents in UMNO, but to ensure UMNO/BN wins in the next GE-13, he must also make a pact with them. This is a very difficult balancing act indeed.

Najib cannot wait for the last minute because he will be sending a wrong message to the incumbents whom he wants to drop, it will only raise their expectations and when they find out they have been dropped they will work against Najib and UMNO, this is the typical UMNO culture.

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