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Close ranks, says Najib as revolt looms

 | April 10, 2013

Disappointed would-be candidates have 24 hours to grieve, quips the BN chief.

KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional chairman Najib Tun Razak today urged members of the ruling coalition to unite and focus on forming the next government amidst infighting over seat allocation for the 13th general election.

The caretaker prime minister admitted at a press conference here that BN’s list of candidates, which he said would be unveiled in a few days, would not satisfy all parties and individuals.

But Najib quipped that he would give the disappointed hopefuls 24 hours to grieve before requiring them to go down to the ground to whip up support for the chosen candidates.

“I took the opportunity to explain several factors in the divvying up of seats and selection of candidates so that they understand this is a complicated process that could not possibly satisfy all parties and individuals,” said Najib after chairing a meeting of BN leaders at the Putra World Trade Centre.

“It is important that we as party members understand this fact and accept that in this general election, the selection of candidates is just a process while the objective is to form a strong government at the national and state levels.”

The Election Commission today announced April 20 as nomination day, giving Najib slightly more than a week to disclose the list of candidates. Polling day for the 13th general election is May 5.

Internal sabotage remains a major concern for BN. It was a key reason behind the ruling coalition’s historic loss of its two-thirds majority in Parliament and five states to the opposition in 2008.

BN’s poor showing led to the resignation of then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Najib is likely to have to follow suit if the ruling coalition fails to regain the two-thirds majority.

Personal attributes

Already, there are hints that those disappointed by the seat allocation will hit back with sabotage. Yesterday, Wangsa Maju MCA warned that it would not campaign for BN should it drop its divisional chief, Yew Teong Look, in favour of Umno’s Mohd Shafei Abdullah.

A seat or two will be swapped between BN component parties, Najib confirmed today, but he stressed that the candidates list would be based on the 2008 general election template.

“Basically we are using the 2008 general election template, with a little adjustment,” he said. “We are taking into consideration the 2008 general election results in adjusting the list so that BN has the best chance of winning,” he said.

However, he added, this did not mean that everyone who lost in 2008 would be out of the list.

“If that candidate, despite losing, has worked hard and is accepted by the community, then they still have a chance to be considered. We take into consideration the coming prospects.”

Najib explained that BN would consider three factors when choosing candidates.

“One is the candidates themselves – their personal attributes, their capabilities, experience, track record – and whether they have any personal problems.

“Second, that person must be accepted by the people in his area.

“Third, we take into consideration equal distribution among BN component parties.”

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