Poser over BN’s candidate in Kuala Selangor

K. Kabilan

With nomination day just days away, it is unclear if Umno will name caretaker Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz as its candidate for the Kuala Selangor seat in the coming polls – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 1, 2022.

FOR months now caretaker Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s name has been mentioned as Umno’s possible candidate for the Kuala Selangor seat in the general election.

However with nomination day just days away, and with Barisan Nasional (BN) set to announce its candidates soon, it is still unclear if Tengku Zafrul will be the one picked for the seat.

State BN sources said that there were some last-minute uncertainties over Tengku Zafrul’s candidacy, especially if he should be better utilised to lead the charge for the state elections next year instead of trying to win a parliamentary seat.

“Umno has picked almost 70% to 80% of its candidates but it is still quite undecided on Tengku Zafrul contesting in Kuala Selangor,” said a senior BN leader.

“He is quite popular in the constituency with his events as the finance minister. He is quite a regular there.

“The locals might be happy to have him but there are thoughts on using him to lead the charge for state polls next year.

“Maybe he is better suited to win back the state from PKR,” he said.

He added this was what many in the Umno and state BN leadership thought, especially when they have come to accept that state BN and Umno leader Noh Omar had failed so far to win back the state. 

“Noh is the warlord in Selangor but it is perhaps time to move away from him if BN really wants to win the state. 

“Giving a fresh face like Tengku Zafrul the challenge would be better as he would have newer ideas to defeat Pakatan Harapan (PH),” said a state MIC leader.

Selangor has been in the hands of Pakatan Harapan (PH) since 2008 and there has been one unsuccessful attempt after another for Umno/BN to retake the richest state in the country.

Selangor has decided to hold its state polls next year like two other PH-ruled states so that it could concentrate on flood mitigation efforts during this monsoon season.

This has given a renewed hope for state BN leadership to double their efforts in winning back the state next year as the entire BN machinery can concentrate on the state polls. 

“Right now Umno has no menteri besar candidate for Selangor. Whoever there are, they are all old faces,” said the MIC man. 

He added that the fact Tengku Zafrul has been appointed state BN treasurer and Selangor BN manifesto chairman makes it easy for him to chart the progress to ensure proper policies and plans are in place to win back Selangor.

However both the state leaders said it would be up to the Umno leadership to make a call on that. 

“If as speculated it is Tengku Zafrul, then we will work hard to name him the MP,” said the BN man. 

Fishing boats in Kuala Selangor, Selangor. The constituency is made up of 66.1% Malays, followed by Indians (21.7%), Chinese (12.5%) and others (0.5%). – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 1, 2022.

Multi-cornered fight

However, in Kuala Selangor, BN leaders are ready to welcome Tengku Zafrul as their MP candidate.

An Umno division leader said that they had been told that Tengku Zafrul was going to be the candidate for BN in Kuala Selangor. 

“We have been told to be ready and to welcome him, and to ensure he wins,” he said. 

A local MIC leader concurs, saying that while there were talks that MIC wanted the seat, it has been decided that Umno would put its candidate there. 

“And we have been told it would be Tengku Zafrul,” he said, adding that if BN wins the coming polls, Tengku Zafrul may continue being a finance minister, which was good news for the constituency. 

Tengku Zafrul last week was reported as saying that he would leave it to the Umno leadership to decide if he should contest in the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat. 

He said he was not aware of any decision on that matter. 

Tengku Zafrul, a Muhyiddin Yassin appointee to the Perikatan Nasional (PN) cabinet as a senator, holds no position in Umno and it was only last year his name was first bandied about as being a potential Umno candidate. He was first linked with the Lembah Pantai constituency. 

So far Amanah has named incumbent lawmaker Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad to contest in Kuala Selangor for PH. 

Pejuang meanwhile has Mohd Shaid Rosli as its candidate. PN is also expected to name a candidate for the seat. 

Kuala Selangor had been an Umno stronghold since its inception in 1955 until Dzulkefly first won it for PAS in 2008. Umno recaptured the seat in the next general election, only to lose it to Dzulkefly again, who contested for Amanah/PH this time around. 

It is a seat with 66.1% Malays, followed by Indians (21.7%), Chinese (12.5%) and others (0.5%). 

There are three state seats under this constituency – Bukit Melawati, Ijok and Jeram. The first two are held by PKR while Jeram is held by Pejuang’s Shaid. 

In the last general election, there were almost 70,000 voters. Dzulkefly won the seat with a majority of 8,498 votes.

The Election Commission has fixed November 19 polling, November 5 for nomination and November 15 for early voting. – November 1, 2022.

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