KUALA LUMPUR: Several in the Umno old guard speculated to be dropped from the election race have been retained.
They include Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin, 70, who will defend his Shah Alam parliamentary seat.
Abdul Aziz, who was admitted to hospital for two weeks because of hernia in 2006, said that his health was improving and that his age was not an obstacle for him to soldier on.
Also retained was Langkawi MP Datuk Paduka Abu Bakar Taib, 65, who will be contesting there for a fourth time.
Abu Bakar, who first won Langkawi when it was a state seat in the 1995 elections, was widely speculated to step aside and pave the way for Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir to contest the seat.
In Sabah, two veterans said to be high on the “drop list” were former deputy chief ministers Datuk Abdul Ghafur Salleh and Datuk Lajim Ukin.
Abdul Ghafur, the Kalabakan MP, has been in politics since the 1980s. He is defending his seat.
Lajim is another old warhorse who first contested the Klias state seat under the then opposition party Parti Bersatu Sabah in 1985. He lost.
However, he won the seat the next year when a snap state election was called and subsequently retained it in four elections. He defected to Umno in 1994.
He will still contest this time around although he will stand in the Beaufort parliamentary constituency.
In Perak, 64 year-old Lintang assemblyman Ahamad Pakeh Adam was initially thought to have been axed.
Although he is only taking part for the second time in the elections, he is considered an Umno veteran as he has been a member since 1964.
Another “surprise” is Datuk Hamdi Abu Bakar, Perak’s Pengkalan Baharu state assemblyman, who will contest the seat for the fifth time.
Also contesting again is Infor mation Minister Datuk Seri Zainuddin Maidin, the Merbok MP since 2004.
Zainuddin, however, has this time been fielded in Sungai Petani.
Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharum is another whose position was said to be “50/50” in the Kedah candidates list.
The first-time Kubang Pasu MP will defend his seat.
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