Several UMNO ministers in Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet likely to be dropped from contesting

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Several United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) ministers from caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s Cabinet will likely be dropped from the list of UMNO GE15 candidates, according to sources.

They are among incumbent MPs who are likely to be dropped from the list of UMNO/BN’s candidates for GE15 to be announced by UMNO president and Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on Tuesday (Nov 1).

Ahmad Zahid is likely to take this chance to cleanse UMNO of all those who have spoken up against him in the past year and shown full defiance to him by supporting UMNO vice-president Ismail Sabri to be the prime minister.

The ministers to be dropped are all seen as vocal supporters of Ismail Sabri and are deemed to have close ties with the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, which helped form the caretaker government.

Among the ministers to be dropped is caretaker federal territories minister Shahidan Kassim who indicated that he might not be selected to defend his Arau parliamentary seat in Perlis.

In a Facebook post on Monday, he announced that all the BN operational rooms in his Arau constituency have been closed and that all the UMNO and BN flags have been lowered.

“Tonight is the saddest night … First time in history,” he said.

Caretaker communications and multimedia minister Annuar Musa also took to Facebook and hinted at being axed but questioned whether the selection for his replacement is in line with the party’s constitution.

“They (UMNO) allegedly promised that they will choose the winnable, acceptable and likeable (candidates) but we hear here and there that many of the (candidates who would be considered) winners have been axed, especially those close to the prime minister,” said Annuar who is incumbent MP for Ketereh in Kelantan.

He also expressed his hope that there will be a change of heart among the top five leaders of UMNO who decide on the list of candidates for the general election.

“Whatever it is, we let the leadership discuss and choose. No need to beg to be a candidate. No need to lobby… it is a (matter of) trust… cut the speculation,” he said.

Shahidan Kassim and Annuar Musa are both said to be big critics of Ahmad Zahid and supporters of Ismail Sabri since they became part of the government.

Two other ministers likely to be dropped are caretaker technology and innovation minister Dr Adham Baba and caretaker national unity minister Halimah Mohamed Sadique.

The decision to drop Dr Adham came as a surprise as he is quite well-known among voters in his constituency of Tenggara, Johor.

Mdm Halimah, who is the incumbent MP for Kota Tinggi, also in Johor, is likely to be dropped to make way for UMNO vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Separately, caretaker health minister Khairy Jamaluddin is widely tipped to contest in Sungai Buloh, Selangor where according to reports he is expected to face an uphill battle.

More than 21 million people will cast their ballots in Malaysia’s GE15 to elect 222 new members of the Lower House of parliament.

The Election Commission has fixed the polling day on Nov 19 and nomination on Nov 5.




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