KUALA TERENGGANU: Respect the views and sentiments of grassroots members in deciding on polls’ candidates.
Former Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said made this call to the Barisan Nasional leadership if the ruling coalition wished to win in the forthcoming 14th general election.
The controversial Kijal assemblyman likened the situation at his Umno division where the office bearers know better the political strength of its candidates.
“We are right here with the people daily, we know the political scenario and terrain. Thus, we know what they want and are able to provide for them.
“Therefore, we are able to meet the demands and challenges straightforwardly.
“Hence, the BN leadership should pay attention to our views and sentiments, rather than listen to outside emissaries, who fly in and out, when choosing the candidates to stand at the polls,” he said on the sidelines of the Terengganu state assembly sitting at Wisma Darul Iman.
Ahmad reminded BN of the losses suffered in previous elections when their choice of candidates was not fielded.
“When we make a choice, we are confident of a win as we will recommend winnable candidates.
“So please do not blame us if a candidate not of our choice is chosen and loses. Why take the risk?” he warned.
He added that although BN and Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had the prerogative to choose the candidates, he hoped the Prime Minister will give due consideration to consult grassroots members.
Asked if he himself will offer his candidacy, Ahmad said he had not decided as of yet and is waiting for his division to meet to discuss the list of candidates.
“Anything can happen (in politics). I may wake up one night and suddenly decide my stand (if to contest or not).
“In any case, let the division members make a decision first,” he said.
In March, last year, Ahmad courted controversy when he called for a motion of no-confidence against his successor, Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman, during a state assembly sitting.
In 2014, after Ahmad was forced out of office and replaced with Razif as the Menteri Besar. He then temporarily resigned from Umno with two other Umno assemblymen temporarily resigned from Umno.
It resulted in Barisan Nasional becoming a minority government for just under 48 hours before the crisis was defused when all three lawmakers returned to Umno after Najib resolved matters with Ahmad.
BN’s Umno holds 17 seats in the 32-seat state legislative assembly, with the Opposition holding 15 seats via PAS with 14 and PKR one.