Zambry front-runner to be new Perak MB

By Lee Wei Lian (The Malaysian Insider)

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 04 — Even as the country awaits the Sultan of Perak’s decision on whether to grant Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) request to dissolve the state assembly and hold fresh state elections, a frontrunner for Barisan Nasional’s (BN) choice for mentri besar has emerged in Datuk Dr. Zambry Abdul Kadir.

The state representative from Pangkor had an audience with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak this morning and met with the prime minister this evening. The BN’s choice is likely to be announced tonight or tomorrow morning.

UMNO sources told The Malaysian Insider that “80-90 per cent” of BN assemblymen support the choice of Dr Zambry due to his academic credentials and outspoken nature.

“In the case of a change of government, the Pakatan opposition is likely to be strong and hostile in the state assembly.

“BN lawmakers are looking for a strong leader, someone who is highly intellectual and competent. He has been vociferous in the assembly but yet is factual and not emotional.”

Dr. Zambry has a bachelors degree in economics, a masters in Islamic studies and a PhD in political economy, with one of his subjects in his course being comparative religion.

“He’s something like the Erdogan of UMNO,” says the UMNO source. “His credentials are important for a plural society and he could be a unifying factor.”

It is understood that Datuk Wan Mohd Khairil Wan Ahmad from Bukit Chandan is the other candidate should BN succeed in forming the new state government but sources say “it’s not a competition at all.”