UMNO is considering three candidates for the position of Selangor menteri besar in its bid to recapture the country’s richest state from Pakatan Harapan in the 14th general election, sources told The Malaysian Insight.
They are Batang Kali assemblyman Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan; Dengkil assemblyman Shahrom Mohd Sharif and Sungai Panjang assemblyman Budiman Mohd Zohdi, who is also the Sungai Besar MP.
A source with a political consultancy group advising Umno said the party’s controversial Sg Besar division chief, Jamal Md Yunos, is not under consideration.
The three names were submitted by the consultancy body to the Umno national leadership for consideration, said the source.
“We talked about these three names but Jamal’s name did not crop up,” said the source.
Jamal, who also leads the Red Shirts movement, has offered himself for the menteri besar post, promising to carry out his duties and responsibilities better than Azmin Ali who is leading the Pakatan Harapan state government now.
Jamal is also gunning for the Bukit Antarabangsa state seat, where Azmin is the incumbent.
“The three names have been discussed four times with the leadership of Umno and the central Barisan National leadership,” the source said.
“Of the three names, Mat Nadzari is the most prominent candidate because of his seniority.”
Mat Nadzari, a former banker, has been deputy chairman of Selangor Umno since early 2015.
Of the three, Budiman was seen as a better candidate for a parliamentary seat, the source added.
Budiman became the Sungai Besar MP in a by-election in June 2016 following the death of the incumbent, Noriah Kasnon, who was killed in a helicopter crash during the Sarawak election campaign on May 5, 2016.
The Malaysian Insight was told that talks on capturing Selangor and the menteri besar candidate started in January, with the last round taking place earlier this month.
Discussions touched on the overall potential of the Selangor BN in GE14, on a list of “winnable” candidates and issues that might arise.
According to the source, BN is aiming to win 35 out of the 56 state seats in Selangor in GE14, which needs to be held before August next year.
BN now holds 12 seats in the Selangor assembly, while PH has 30 seats, PAS 13 and one held by an independent assemblyman.
Two weeks ago, BN deputy chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Selangor BN would not announce its menteri besar candidate before the general election, but would only nominate the candidate after winning the state.
According to Zahid, a candidate for the Selangor menteri besar’s post is a secondary concern as the focus is on winning back Selangor.
Zahid also said Selangor Umno chief Noh Omar is not a candidate.
“Noh Omar is not interested in becoming the menteri besar. He only provides leadership.”
Noh, in October, said he did not aspire to become menteri besar.
BN lost Selangor in 2008, when it won only 20 state seats compared with PKR’s 15 seats, DAP (12) and PAS (8).
The federal ruling coalition also lost control of five states, including Selangor. PKR, DAP and PAS were then in a partnership called Pakatan Rakyat, which supported Khalid Ibrahim as the menteri besar.
Azmin has led the Selangor government since September 2014 after an internal tussle led to PKR sacking Khalid who refused to step down as menteri besart. He left the party and has been an independent assemblyman since then.