Ismail Sabri: Issues on selection of BN candidates resolved, focus now on forming new govt
KUALA LUMPUR,. Describing the infighting that happens during an election as normal, caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the internal issues regarding the selection of Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno candidates for the 15th general election (GE15) were now resolved.
The Umno vice-president, who is the incumbent Bera Member of Parliament (MP), said although there were feelings of disappointment in the early stage among those who were dropped from contesting in this election, they had accepted it for the sake of the party.
What is important now is for BN to regain control of the federal government in GE15 and become dominant, he said.
“There are many who are eligible to contest, but not all of us can (be nominated as candidates). For those who are not able to contest, we understand that they will certainly be disappointed, but after two or three days they’ll come back to the party’s fold,” he said in a special talk show on Stability and Prosperity with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri aired on Bernama TV and several other local television stations tonight.
Referring to incumbent Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the prime minister said, words spread that he (Annuar) would defend the seat on Perikatan Nasional (PN) ticket, but he proved otherwise and stayed loyal to the party.
In the case of incumbent Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman who is said to be disgruntled after being dropped from contesting in GE15, Ismail Sabri said the politician was now working hard to ensure victory for the BN candidate in the constituency.
Ismail Sabri said although he also felt sad and disappointed when his friends in Umno who were considered “winnable” candidates were dropped from contesting in GE15, it should not be an issue that hampered the campaign to ensure victory for BN.
“Certainly they will agree, solidarity must be strengthened, the selection issues had to be set aside because what is important is to focus on winning the GE and for BN to regain control of the federal government,” he added.
Ismail Sabri said it was normal to have disagreements in a big party like Umno, but not to the point of causing a rift.
He said that was also the reason for him and party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to always find time to go to the ground, along with top Umno leaders, to prove to the people that there was no internal crisis in the party.
On the issue of some Umno leaders being involved in corruption, Ismail Sabri said the matter involved individuals and not the party.
As prime minister, he said, he had always insisted on non-interference by the government in the affairs of the courts and agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police.
He said this was proven by the case involving former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also former Umno president.
“In terms of corrupt leaders, it does not involve the party, only individuals. Those with cases will have action taken against them. It’s not the party that is corrupt.
“The MACC, the police are free to investigate anyone and there is no interference from the government. When they (offenders) are brought before the court, they have to face the court alone and cannot ‘drag’ the party in,” he added.