Mohd Ali Rustam - Malacca's chief minister for over 12 years - will relinquish his position by moving to the Bukit Katil parliamentary seat, with an eye on federal politics.
Bukit Katil, Mohd Ali's birth place, was won by BN with a 1,758-vote majority in 2008 and is the only BN-held parliamentary seat in Malacca that is at risk of being lost in the coming general election.
The pick for Bukit Katil is seen as a move by Mohd Ali to leverage on his popularity - particularly among Malay voters - in thwarting the opposition's challenge there in the form of PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Akin.
Other than DAP stronghold Kota Melaka, all parliamentary seats in Malacca was won by BN with a comfortable margin of over 10,000 votes.
Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Idris Haron (right) who is also the incumbent Tangga Batu MP, will be moving to the state seat of Sungai Udang, further fueling speculation that he is slated to replace Mohd Ali as Malacca chief minister.
Sungai Udang is a relatively safe seat for Idris with a reservoir of military votes in the form of two army camps, namely the Terendak and Sungai Udang camps.
Battle of titans
In another southern state, incumbent Johor Menteri Besar Abdul Ghani Othman announced that he will be moving to the parliamentary seat of Gelang Patah.
His rite of passage into federal politics will require him to first defeat DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang there.
BN hopes it can leverage on Abdul Ghani's popularity against the DAP political titan, who had in 1990, defeated former Penang Chief Minister Lim Chong Eu.
With Abdul Ghani's move to federal politics, all eyes are on incumbent Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin who will be taking up the Permas state seat this time, solidifying past speculations that he will be the new Johor menteri besar.
Khaled received a round of strong applause from the crowd when his name was announced as the candidate for Permas, but he refused to comment on his prospective after the general election.
“Let us win this election first... only then we will decide who will be the menteri besar.
“I cannot be the one to say what will I be, you have to ask the question to the leadership,” said a beaming Khaled when asked by reporters.
However, speculations that incumbent Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abdul Kadir would be replaced have fizzled out as he is defending his Pangkor state seat.
All the three senior federal ministers - Padang Rengas MP Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, Tambun MP Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah and Bagan Datoh MP Ahmad Zahid Hamidi - will be defending their respective seats.
In Perlis, the state is also expected to get a new menteri besar as incumbent Md Isa Sabu announced that he will not be contesting in the 13th general election.
However, there is no clear candidate who will replace him for the top job.
Johor BN candidates