Political analysts view the Barisan Nasional (BN) formula of retaining 20 ministers to defend their respective parliamentary seats at the general election on May 5 as the party’s commitment to the continuity of the nation’s development and people’s well-being.
National Professors Council, Head of History, Heritage and Socio-cultural Cluster, political analyst Prof Dr Zainal Kling believes that in addition to many fresh faces and young candidates, experienced candidates are also needed for the continuity of development programmes and good administration.
“We hope those who are retained will continue to serve well. It’s also important that their role is generally determined by the BN manifesto and detailed planning under the Economic and Government Transformation programmes.
“That would be their Key Performance Index (KPI) for the next five years,” he told Bernama here on Wednesday.
He was of the opinion that these ministers and those who had been dropped, including Information Communication and Culture Minister Dr Rais Yatim and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop had achieved their previous KPI.
“They may have been dropped due to their age. Even then we hope they’ll still help the next government,” he said.
His opinion was supported by Universiti Teknologi MARA Faculty of Communications and Media Studies head Dr Rahmat Ghazali, who said just because they were not selected it did not mean they had not contributed and served the people during their term.
The contesting ministers are led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who will be defending the Pekan parliamentary seat which he has occupied since 1976 and Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Pagoh.
The BN chairman and UMNO president will be facing Pahang PKR Youth head Fariz Musa.
At the 2008 general election, Najib won by the highest majority against PKR’s Khairul Anuar Ahmad Zainudin.
It has yet to be determined who will be contesting against Muhyiddin, who is Education Minister. He defeated PAS candidate Mohamad Rozali Jamil by a majority of 12,581 votes in 2008.
The other ministers who will be defending their seats are Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Nazri Aziz (Padang Rengas); Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (Tambun); Transport Minister Kong Cho Ha (Lumut); Defence Minister Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Bagan Datoh) and Sports and Youth Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek (Kemaman). Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Noh Omar (Tanjung Karang); Human Resource and MIC Deputy President Dr S Subramaniam (Segamat); Housing and Local Government Minister Chor Chee Heung (Alor Setar); Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai (Bentong); Home Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein (Sembrong) and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Douglas Uggah Embas (Betong).
Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob (Bera); Public Works Minister Shaziman Abu Mansor (Tampin); Rural and Regional Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal (Semporna); Foreign Minister Anifah Aman (Kimanis); Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Dr Maximus Ongkili (Kota Marudu) and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister and UPKO President Bernard Dompok (Penampang).
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Faculty of Social Science and Humanities, geopolitics lecturer Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Fuad Mat Jali said that the decision to maintain the line up of ministers at their respective constituencies proved that they had performed well there.
“The constituents know their incumbents well and have benefited from the ministers’ achievements,” he said.
This general election will also witness two cabinet members moving to state assembly constituencies and thereby said to be the potential menteri besar for their respective states if they win.
They are Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin (Pasir Gudang parliamentary to Permas state assembly seat) and International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Mukhriz Mahathir (Jerlun parliamentary to Ayer Hitam state assembly seat).
International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed is the only Minister who will be contesting for two seats – defending his Jeli parliamentary seat and vying for the Ayer Lanas state assembly seat – giving a clear message that he is the eligible candidate for a central government post and to be Kelantan’s Menteri Besar if the state is regained.
First time contesting and two-term senator, Federal Territories and Urban Well-being Minister Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin will be up against PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar in the Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency; Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom, who is also a two-term senator has been fielded at Jerai and MIC President and Minister in Prime Minister’s Department G Palanivel in Cameron Highlands.
Rahmat said BN’s retaining of these ministers and combining them with new and experienced candidates was viewed as not just a strategy to win the general elections but more as preparing to form a solid new government.