Friday, December 2, 2011

Little problem for Najib to find winnable candidates

KUALA LUMPUR: With 3.3 million members, Umno, and by extension the Barisan Nasional, is the biggest political party in the country.

As such, there should be little problem for Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also BN chairman, to find his winnable candidates among the lot.

His predicament, however, may lie in the unenviable task of finding who should be replaced or make way, be it from Umno or BN, when he prepares the candidate list.

On many occasions, Najib has mentioned that the winnable candidates should be those who are acceptable by the majority of voters in a constituency and also by the party machinery as well.

Going by that criteria, most of the existing Umno assemblymen and parliamentarians could consider themselves "quite safe" from the chopping block.

Many of them have been living up to their respective constituents' expectations.

However, there are cries from a number of constituencies where the wakil rakyat have fallen short in serving the people.

In some places, the elected representatives had delegated their duties to their representatives and would only show up when federal leaders come-a-calling to their states.

There are also those who may have got themselves caught in legal tangles. These include those allegedly involved in mishandling of funds or power.

With the rakyat becoming more politically involved and critical, Najib cannot afford to make the wrong choice for his team as he leads the Umno and BN charge in the next general election.

A majority of Umno members and observers, approached by NST Online on the matter, suggested wail rakyat with "problems" should just "excuse" themselves from being chosen as candidates again.
"Be magnanimous," said a party member from Malacca.

"Umno could do without candidates with even the littlest of problems. We should not give the opposition any opportunity to find fault with us," he added.

A party observer, who hails from Negri Sembilan, said if the "problematic" wakil rakyat truly loves the party, he or she should exit gracefully.

"We must think of the interest of many over self.

"The next general election is very critical for Umno and BN.

“We lost a lot of seats in 2008 not because the opposition was strong, but because we were weak, especially from self-inflicted pains,” she added.

Another party member from Kedah said the annual congregation of Umno leaders and members would only be reduced to a talk shop if party members do not heed Najib's advice.

"The president was very sincere and very concerned with the problems we have in Umno and BN.

"He has held back nothing and has spelt out almost everything that we need to do and not do as we prepare for the general election," she said.

She said over the past 65 years, Umno has done a lot for party members and other Malaysians.
"Umno needs us badly now and we must make sacrifices including making way for others if the party president deem it as fit," she said.

"We may not be Khalid al-Walid," she said referring to Najib's speech when he touched on the loyalty of the Muslim general who heeded the call from the Caliph of war to make way for another soldier.
"However, we should emulate him if we are true Muslims and love our party," she added.