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Analyst foresees tough election war in Selangor

 | August 24, 2017

With PAS and PPBM in the picture, both Pakatan and BN will face difficult challenges, says Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of UUM.

Kamarul-ZamanPETALING JAYA: A political analyst has predicted a tough fight in Selangor in the coming general election.

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia told FMT the presence of PAS and PPBM in the state presented difficult challenges for both Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional.

He said each would have to win over PAS to its side, but BN would have the additional challenge of making sure Umno would not lose too many of its members to PPBM.

However, he said Pakatan might not be able to take too much advantage of PPBM’s membership in the coalition because it lacked credible leaders in Selangor.

Although he said both sides needed to fight also for the non-Malay vote, Kamarul had more advice for BN than for Pakatan.

He said Umno had to keep the Red Shirt group of Jamal Yunos in check because it was scaring away voters.

He also spoke of the “incessant infighting in Selangor BN, especially among Umno leaders”, saying it could spoil BN’s chances of recapturing the state despite the bickering among Pakatan parties.

Kamarul said Umno should avoid choosing personalities with image problems, such as former menteri besar Mohamad Khir Toyo. This was especially applicable in its choice of the candidate for the menteri besar’s post, he added.

“Good academic qualifications and a professional background will help,” he said. “But a good relationship with the people, the palace and Umno division leaders is a must.

“However, I think a parachute leader won’t make it. The candidate must have won in the 13th general election.”

Umno would normally choose its state liaison chief as candidate for menteri besar, but Kamarul said it might be wise for current Selangor Umno chairman Noh Omar to give way to a new candidate. “He doesn’t really fit the criteria. He has been around for quite some time and may have some image problems.”

He said one potential candidate would be Noh’s deputy, Batang Kali assemblyman Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan. He noted that Nadzari won convincingly in the last election, defeating Ramachandran Kandasamy of PKR by 5,398 votes.

“He has quite a good background, having been a bank manager, and doesn’t seem to have got into any controversies.”

He also mentioned Irmohizam Ibrahim, who in 2013 wrested the Kuala Selangor parliament seat from Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was then with PAS but has since joined Amanah.

“Irmohizam is educated, just got his PhD, quite likeable and enjoys a good relationship with the Umno president,” he said. “He used to be very active in youth organisations and volunteer groups too.”

Another suitable candidate, Kamarul said, would be Budiman Mohd Zohdi, who is the assemblyman for Sungai Panjang as well as MP for Sungai Besar. “He seems to be well educated and well accepted by the people too. The problem is that he is not an Umno division head.”

But Kamarul speculated that Noh might prefer a candidate more closely associated with him. If this were so, he said, he might want to choose Semenyih assemblyman Johan Abdul Aziz.

Johan is Selangor Umno secretary and serves as Noh’s special duties officer at the ministry of urban wellbeing, housing and local government. “He doesn’t seem to have any baggage,” Kamarul said.

News reports recently quoted Khir Toyo as saying BN should finalise its list of potential candidates for the post of Selangor menteri besar if it was serious about winning back the country’s richest state.

The former MB said there was a general perception that BN lacked strong leaders in the state.

Khir was released from prison last year after serving time for corruption.


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