DENGKIL assemblyman Shahrum Mohd Sharif is touted as one of three Barisan Nasional candidates for the post of Selangor menteri besar should the coalition wrest back the country’s richest state at the next elections.
Shahrum, however, is paying no attention to the speculation. His main concern is to help BN win back the state from Pakatan Harapan.
He is also leaving it to the party to decide who to appoint as menteri besar if Selangor is back in BN control.
“I think there are many other BN candidates who are stronger and more qualified for the post,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
The 45-year-old was among three Umno reps whose names keep cropping up for the position of menteri besar in the richest state in Malaysia.
The other two names, The Malaysian Insight was made to understand, are Batang Kali assemblyman Mat Nadzari Ahmad Dahlan and Sungai Panjang ssemblyman Budiman Mohd Zohdi, who is also Sungai Besar MP.
Selangor has been under the control of Pakatan Rakyat first in 2008 and now PH. The current MB is PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Shahrum himself is uncertain about his political fate. He does not know if he would be fielded in the 14th general election polls or whether he would contest the Dengkil state seat again.
He is a first-term assemblyman, elected in 2013. He succeeded Marsum Paing, who now heads the Sepang Umno division.
Shahrum is the sole BN candidate to win in the Sepang parliamentary constituency, a seat held by Mohamed Hanipa Maidin, a former PAS man who has since moved to Amanah.
BN lost the other two state seats – Tanjong Sepat and Sungai Pelek – to PAS and DAP respectively.
Shahrum is no stranger to politics. His father, Sharif Jajang, was Dengkil ssemblyman and a state government exco before he retired in 2004.
Before Shahrum was picked to contest in Dengkil, he worked as former Sepang MP Zin Mohamed’s special officer. He was also Sepang Umno treasurer.
“I became politically active after the 2008 general election. A year after that, I was appointed Zin’s special officer and treasurer of the Sepang division.”
Shahrum said initially, he was not interested in politics or to follow in his father’s footsteps.
He had seen how tough it was to be an assemblyman, watching his father sacrifice time, energy and money on his political life.
“A politician’s job is very challenging. I grew up in a political family. I have seen my father’s sacrifices. He had no time for the family.
“So, I always thought I wouldn’t be able to serve like that, like my father. It never crossed my mind.”
But after a term of serving as a state rep, Shahrom found joy in work, even though he admitted that it is a challenge being an opposition assemblyman who receives no state funds.
“Although my BN colleagues and I get no state funds, we can’t make that our excuse. We still have to do our best.
“I am thankful I managed to make some difference. Being a rep is like being a bridge that connects the people to the authorities.”
Although Dengkil is a BN territory, Shahrum will not take it easy in GE14, which must be held by August.
Voters’ sentiments have changed with the inclusion of new voters, he said.
From 38,000 voters in 2013, the number has gone up to nearly 50,000 this time.
“We take Dengkil as an Umno fortress, but we still have to take the sentiments of the people seriously.
“This seat is no longer a traditional kampung area. We have 13 kampung, but we also have more than 50 housing estates.”
Shahrum expects fierce contest in GE14 but he feels Umno has the advantage as the incumbent.
He is also open to whatever decision the BN leadership makes for Dengkil, even if it is fielding someone else.
“It is our job to work as usual. All BN component parties must fight for the coalition, no matter which candidate is chosen. We learned our lesson with what happened in Sepang in the past.
“If our supporters ditch us, how will we convince the people out there? But it is true that the candidate has a role in ensuring victory, too.
“If I am chosen again, then it will be an honour. But I also hope I can defend the seat for BN. Being chosen means nothing if BN loses.”