BAGAN DATUK: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob remains Barisan Nasional’s poster boy and candidate for the post of prime minister in the 15th General Election (GE15), says Barisan chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said Barisan’s stand on this would not change if the coalition succeeded in winning Putrajaya.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Umno president, said following Barisan’s stand, the question of whether Ismail Sabri would be its candidate for the post of prime minister did not arise, but this was being played up by the Opposition.
“At the party level, the decision that Ismail Sabri is our ‘poster boy’ and candidate for the post of prime minister is final as decided by the Umno supreme council.
“The actions of certain parties are only aimed at causing friction, especially within Umno and among the Barisan component parties, as they don’t have anything to attack us,” he said when met by reporters after opening the Bagan Datuk Umno division meeting here yesterday, reported Bernama.
Previously, there were statements from certain people who claimed that Ahmad Zahid would be named as candidate for the prime minister’s post if Barisan were to win GE15.
Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan also reportedly denied a statement claiming that Ahmad Zahid had been named as candidate for the prime minister’s post.
Earlier, Ahmad Zahid said that at least 70% of Barisan candidates in GE15 would be new faces
“Those who will be nominated are individuals of calibre, have academic qualifications, and are highly committed to helping the people,” he said, adding that the coalition would also try to meet the demand that 30% of Barisan candidates were women.
He admitted that the decision was difficult, but needed to be done so that the people could see Barisan was making changes to meet the needs of the people.
“I need to be fair and as party president and Barisan chairman, it is also necessary for me to keep the old faces so that the partnership is stable and balanced,” he said in his speech.
However, he stressed that the full selection of candidates had not been finalised and was still under scrutiny by the party’s top leadership.
He said Barisan would contest in 191 of the 222 parliamentary seats and, for the first time, the Friends of Barisan parties would also be given the opportunity to contest on the coalition’s ticket.
Friends of Barisan is made up of Parti Cinta Malaysia, All Malaysian Indian Progress Front, Malaysian Indian Muslim Congress, Malaysian United Indian Party, Makkal Sakti and Punjabi Party of Malaysia.