The Star Online|Malaysia 13th General Election

GE13: All eyes on BN’s list of candidates

KUALA LUMPUR: All eyes will be on Barisan Nasional's list of candidates, which will be revealed simultaneously in 14 states tomorrow, with much of the attention focused on contestants for Selangor, Kedah, Johor and Malacca.

For Selangor and Kedah, which the coalition is attempting to wrest back after losing them to Pakatan Rakyat in 2008, the list would identify the likely mentri besar of the states if Barisan wins.

“Selangor will see the biggest number of changes. At last count, the number of new candidates is almost 70%. That's just the state seats.

“For the parliamentary list for Selangor, the changes could be 60% or higher,” said a party insider who had a peek at the names yesterday.

Sources said if Barisan won Selangor back, it was almost sure that the MB would be someone new and unknown to most people.

The top three favourites for the post are Tanjung Karang Umno division deputy head Datuk Shamsud-din Rais, Subang division chief Dr Bushro Mat Johor and Taman Templer state assemblyman Datuk Subahan Kamal.

For Kedah, Barisan insiders are confident of the coalition's performance in the state, where the PAS-led government is in disarray due to infighting.

The three favourites for the Kedah MB's post are Jerlun MP Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, state Umno liaison chief Datuk Paduka Ahmad Bashar Md Hanipah and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's political secretary Datuk Latt Shariman Abdullah, who is also the Kuala Kedah Umno division chief.

“Even in Kedah, the number of new faces will be high at almost 50% but more of the new ones will be contesting the parliamentary seats,” said a Barisan leader.

Johor, too, will have a new MB regardless of the results as Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman is set to take on DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang for the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat.

With Pakatan mounting an assault on its stronghold of Johor, Barisan is expected to come up with an impressive list of candidates to counter the attack.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Khaled Nordin and Pulai MP Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed are said to be the favourite candidates to succeed Ghani.

Sources said about 300 of Barisan's candidates from 2008 would be dropped this time around.

Najib, who is Barisan chairman, is scheduled to hand over the letters of authority for candidates to state Barisan general election directors today in a ceremony at the Putra World Trade Centre here.

The state directors would hand over the letters to each of the candidates for parliamentary and state constituencies in similar ceremonies at their respective locations the following day.

Insiders said the Barisan lists for Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Perlis would also get much interest as changes at the top were expected in these states.

There has been talk about state heads being moved to the Federal level, with the speculation centred on Negri Sembilan and Malacca.

Barisan's list will also reveal ministers to be axed and those who will survive.

It has also been widely speculated that veteran politicians had been told to step aside to make way for younger leaders.

“The general formula being bandied in Barisan's headquarters is that anyone born in 1945 and below should step aside.

“Another rule of thumb is those who have held a seat for too long must give way to fresh faces,” said a Barisan strategist.

For more election stories, please visit The Star's GE13 site