Three states may see new faces as CM, menteris besar!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_540/image.jpg 

SWITCH ON CARDS? 4 opposition ruled-states may see change, too

KUALA LUMPUR: TWO states are likely to get new menteris besar while another, a new chief minister, following the movement of Barisan Nasional candidates between parliamentary and state seats.

Although the full list of candidates contesting the 222 parliamentary seats and 505 state seats would only be known today, Perlis, Malacca and Johor are likely to see their top office bearers contesting for parliamentary seats.

Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan and Penang will also have new menteris besar and a chief minister should BN succeed in wresting these states away from Pakatan Rakyat.

Former Jerlun member of parliament Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is largely said to be the choice menteri besar candidate in Kedah should BN string a victory in the northern state while Datuk Mustapa Mohamed, who is former Jeli MP, is hugely tipped for the same post in Kelantan.

Such speculations came to light yesterday after state and BN component leaders received their watiqah or appointment letters of the candidates sanctioned to contest in the coming general election from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The large movement of candidates between parliamentary and state seats is also bound to affect the rest of the state line-ups, especially in Perlis and Johor.

The line-up in Selangor, to be announced today, is also expected to surprise as sources said 70 per cent of those contesting this time would be new faces.

Speculation was rife yesterday that some big names, including former Pasir Gudang MP Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, former Raub MP Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen, former Jelebu MP Datuk Seri Rais Yatim and former Tasik Gelugor MP Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, have been dropped from contesting at the federal level.

This meant that they are unlikely to be in the next cabinet, unless appointed as senators.

Even former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is said to be not in the list to contest at federal level. Abdullah is said to be making way for a new candidate for his Kepala Batas seat.

Former MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat is also making way for lawyer Gary Lim to contest for the Pandan seat.

In Johor, Khaled, whose name has cropped up as the next menteri besar by several quarters in Umno, may have been dropped from retaining the Pasir Gudang parliamentary seat to contest for a state seat.

The move will make him eligible to be appointed as menteri besar. Despite incessant rumours, Khaled has refused to comment on the matter, saying that talk of his replacing current Johor Menteri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman had been rife for quite sometime.

Ghani is widely tipped to not defend his Serom state seat and instead battle it out for the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat with DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang.

Ghani had, on several occasions, expressed his interest in going against Lim ever since the latter’s candidacy was announced by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The strategy in pitting a seasoned politician like Ghani against Lim is seen by political observers as necessary to counter Pakatan Rakyat excursions into the BN stronghold.

Ghani, 67, may also be called again to serve at federal level as a cabinet minister following his previous portfolios as Deputy Energy, Telecommunication and Post Minister (1987-1990), Deputy Finance Minister (1990-1993) and Youth and Sports Minister (1993-1995).

Up north in Perlis, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Md Isa Sabu may not be recontesting the Bintong state seat to pave the way for Kangar Umno committee member Shaharuddin Ismail, who is also the Perlis Football Association manager.

Several names have cropped up to replace Isa as menteri besar, as he is expected to contest for the Kangar parliamentary seat to replace incumbent Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad who has opted to pull out from the race.

Isa, who had also contested and won in Kangar in 1995, may be facing off with Perlis Mufti Dr Juanda Jaya who will contest under the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) banner.

Najib yesterday described the candidates’ line-up as a reflection of BN’s spirit of trustworthiness, inclusiveness and transformation which encapsulated the spirit of 1Malaysia. He also said any issues pertaining to overlapping seats and disappointment on the decisions made have been resolved in preparation for the election.