PETALING JAYA: Barisan Nasional will use a new and tough vetting system to select candidates for the 14th general election.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the new methodology had passed the test in the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections where Barisan won with thumping majorities.
The system was also tested in the Sarawak state election in May.
Najib said although the vetting system had been tested largely on Umno, the same principle will be applied to component parties in the coalition.
“If you don’t meet the minimum criteria, you will not even be considered, period.
“That makes it easier for me as president of the party. If they didn’t pass, it is not because of me but because of merit.
“There is nothing I can do, they have to accept the fact that they lost,” he said.
It is understood that several component party leaders failed to qualify during the trial run of the new screening system.
“It is like entering university. You must have a minimum of 2A’s or 2B’s. If you only have 2C’s you cannot get in,” he said.
He said that Barisan did not have an objective method to select candidates in the last general election.
“When I came up with the principle of winnable candidates, many considered themselves as winnable when in fact they are not,” he said.
He said he would try to accommodate demands from the divisions for local candidates but they would also have to go through the vetting process.
The race to become election candidates is very intense in Barisan and unsuccessful candidates have been known to resort to sabotage.
“But what they have to realise is that the final choice is with the leadership and that has always been the case,” he said.
Asked about possible changes of mentris besar, he said he was keeping his options open.
He said he needed to look at the micro aspects of each state in order to strike a balance between change and stability.
There has been speculation that four states may have a new mentri besar before the general election.
“I think it’s only fair that I do not say yes or no, but it will be what is best for the states in question.”
On whether the general election will be in the first or second half of 2017, he said: “Not necessarily, it can be later. I’m enjoying this speculation. Let people go on speculating.”