Only top BN leadership can decide election candidates — Abd Karim

KUCHING: The top BN leadership has the power to decide the candidates contesting in the upcoming general election.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this when asked if a condition in which a potential candidate should not have dual representation as member of parliament (MP) and assemblyman still applies.

This refers to Tan Sri William Mawan, who is Saratok MP and Pakan assemblyman. He is in the news of late after declaring that he is a member of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) on Monday.

“Well, anything can happen in politics. The top leadership – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg have the power to decide,” he told reporters yesterday after chairing the Sarawak Tourism Steering Committee meeting here, which was attended by Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan, the ministry’s permanent secretary Hii Chang Kee and Sarawak Tourism Board (STB) chairman Abdul Wahab Aziz.

Another important aspect to consider, Abd Karim said, was the ‘winnability’ of the candidate because BN and PBB wanted someone who can deliver the seat and must be acceptable and likeable by the local community.

“You can field any candidate down there and even ones with a PhD. But if they lose the election there is no point,” he said.

When asked to confirm Mawan’s PBB membership, Abdul Karim said he did not know, nor has he checked with PBB office as he too relied on the news.

“I have heard rumours here and there that he is a member of PBB. It has been confirmed by him (Mawan) isn’t it, so in that case, I can say he is a PBB member.

“We are happy to see him a PBB member. We are happy to see many people wanting to join us. Moreover, PBB is open to anybody,” he said.

On whether Mawan is the right candidate to defend Saratok, he said the BN top leadership would decide.

While Saratok is considered a safe seat for BN, Abd Karim said: “I can’t say it is a safe seat for BN because we have to contest and we will not take things for granted because we have to respect the voters for they are the ones who will determine if the candidate is acceptable.” – The Borneo Post

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