Caretaker Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah has been retained to defend his Temerloh parliamentary seat in Pahang, it has been announced.
Saifuddin, who is an Umno surpreme council member, has often been described by many to be a progressive-thinking Umno leader, and has several times issued statements seen to be in conflict with Umno’s stance.
The deputy minister supported the removal of the bar on students being involved in politics, as decided in the landmark Court of Appeal ruling on Section 15 of the Universities and University Colleges Act, unlike the overall stand taken by Umno and BN.
Saifuddin is expected to face PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan.
Significantly missing from the BN candidates list is the controversial Perkasa president Ibrahim Ali.
Ibrahim was widely expected to be picked to defend his Pasir Mas parliamentary seat in Kelantan, under the BN ticket.
Dropping him have stemmed from Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli Noordin being named the BN's candidate for Shah Alam by coalition chairperson and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.
The Pasir Mas seat is to be contested by Pasir Mas Umno deputy chief Che Johan Che Pa. With this, Pasir Mas could see a three-cornered fight – if Ibrahim decides to contest as an independent candidate.
Mahathir endorsed Ibrahim as BN candidate
Ibrahim's candidacy for Pasir Mas was endorsed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who also said that there should be more people in the country like the Perkasa president.
Ibrahim has also announced that he had taken leave from the Malay rights organisation to concentrate on the general election.
Pasir Mas Umno division chief Hanafi Mamat was also quoted as saying that his division was willing to give way to Ibrahim, should the party leadership decide to field the Perkasa president.
Picked to retain his seat in Pahang is Rompin incumbent and Najib Abdul Razak loyalist Jamaluddin Jarjis (right).
MIC president G Palanivel will also contest in Pahang, in Cameron Highlands, the parliamentary seat held by the party vice-president SK Devamany.
Others slated to defend their seats in Pahang are caretaker Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai (Bentong) who is slated to contest against Himpunan Hijau chairperson Wong Tack and Najib, in Pekan.
Caretaker Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Ismail Sabri Yaacob will defend his Bera seat.
Ku Li, Mustapa to defend seats
Incumbent Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah will defend his seat in Kelantan while caretaker International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed will contest in Jeli and also the state seat of Air Lanas.
Similarly, former Rural Development Minister Annuar Musa will contest in Ketereh, while Deputy Finance Minister Awang Adek Hussin will contest again in Bachok.
Newcomer Wan Razman Wan Abd Razak will take on the much revered Kelantan caretaker Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat in the Chempaka state seat.
In TERENGGANU, caretaker menteri besar Ahmad Said will defend his Kijal state seat, while caretaker Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek will defend the Kemaman parliamentary seat.
Former Terenganu menteri besar Idris Jusoh, who is also Mara chairperson, will contest in the Besut parliamentary seat.
Yahya Khatib of Umno will face PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in Marang.
A list of 18 newcomers was announced by Ahmad today, while nine incumbents have been dropped.
Those dropped included former Ajil assemblyperson Rosol Wahid; Ashaari Idris (Langkap), Abdullah Mohd Zain (Besut Parliament); Din Adam (Bukit Besi); Khazan Che Mat (Batu Rakit); Ramlan Ali (Jabi); Ariffin Abdullah (Paka); Zawawi Ismail (Kuala Berang) and Halim Jusoh (Permaisuri).