By John Isaac
WITH the 15th general election (GE15) fast approaching, it is time for BN to decide on their prime ministerial candidate, said political analysts.
Political observer Arif Anwar Lokmanol Hakim said at the very least, BN should have internal knowledge of who will lead them in the next election if they want to keep any decision under wraps for now.
“There needs to be an immediate discussion on the prime minister candidate, at the very least to relay it to BN components who are asking about it,” he told Malaysiakini.
This is after MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran said it was unclear who would be BN’s prime minister candidate for the next election.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi – who is the BN chairperson – had unilaterally decided at the Umno general assembly last week that BN would head into GE15 solo.
However, while the BN chief has traditionally also been the prime minister candidate, things are not so simple with Zahid.
This is as he is currently facing multiple charges over alleged corruption, and if convicted – would be disqualified from contesting GE15.
Even if he could contest the elections – tentatively to be called in August – Ariff and political analyst Ahmad Atory Hussain said Zahid was tainted by his charges and would drag Umno down.
In light of this, one name being floated as a possible candidate was Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
“Mohamad can improve BN’s image because he doesn’t have any court cases and is always praised by the people and Umno members,” said political analyst Rusdi Omar.
However, Rusdi and Arif said Mohamad had to do more to stand out publicly, especially to get more media coverage.
“Not everyone knows Mohamad quite well,” said Arif.
Mohamad had previously served as de facto Umno president after Zahid went on garden leave for over six months from 2018 to 2019.
According to Malaysiakini, during Mohamad’s time at the helm, Umno – which had been in a slump since the 2018 election defeat – began to saw a resurgence.
This included a hat trick of by-election victories in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih, and Rantau.
During the recent Umno general assembly, Mohamad had joked with the media that he was the party’s PM candidate.