(The Star) - Barisan Nasional will drop up to 40% of veterans in the 13th general election to give way to new blood.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is making final adjustments to the list of candidates, has identified quite a number of the old guard to be excluded, with some of them coming forward to voluntarily step aside.
Barisan has 141 MPs, of which 75 have served more than three terms. Sources say that not all will be replaced but the Prime Minister wants to include new faces as part of his Political Transformation Programme.
Four previous long-serving Cabinet ministers are among those stepping down for newcomers, including former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz (Kuala Kangsar), former Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid (Padang Besar), former Home Minister Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad (Kangar) and former Housing and Local Government Minister Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting (Kulai).
Rafidah is among the first to inform Najib of her intention not seek re-election. Radzi and Azmi, too, have told Najib of their wish to retire. Ong is said to be relishing his role as Najib's special envoy to China.
Others who have expressed their readiness to step aside are former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar for the Kepala Batas and Kota Tinggi seats respectively.
However, according to sources, Najib has not decided whether to accept their offer because no “proper successors” have been found.
Another former Cabinet member, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, the Pengerang incumbent, may also face the chop but the current controversy over the Petronas development in the constituency may get her another term.
Sources said Najib may retain her so that she could explain to her constituents the importance of the RM61.4bil project.
Energy, Green Technology Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, the SUPP president who has been the MP for Miri for the past six terms, said he would still contest if Najib wanted him to do so.
Two other senior MPs who are scheduled to retire are former Human Resources Minister Tan Sri Dr Fong Chan Onn (Alor Gajah) and former Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Leo Michael Toyad (Mukah).
Three former deputy ministers who are not expected to be fielded are Tan Sri Tengku Azlan Sultan Abu Bakar, Datuk Noraini Ahmad and Datuk Seri Sulaiman Taib. They are the MPs for Jerantut, Parit Sulong and Kota Samarahan respectively.