PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob is Barisan Nasional’s choice for Prime Minister if it forms the government after the 15th General Election (GE15), coalition leaders have reaffirmed.
They said that Opposition parties continue to harp on this although Barisan had already announced its stand.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said it was clear that the Opposition had run out of tactics ahead of polling day and that is why its leaders are confusing the public about Barisan’s choice for premier.
“This was decided at the recent Umno general assembly and supreme council meeting where 156 of its divisions supported the motion to keep him as Barisan’s poster boy for prime minister.
“Nothing has changed since then and there is also no confusion about this issue.
“The Opposition is just doing what it does to win, which is by misleading the people,” he told a press conference after attending a community anti-drugs programme in Ayer Hitam yesterday.
MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran said: “In Barisan we are very clear – we have said so many times that the PM candidate is Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri.
“It is very clear that all this talk is to cover their shortfall and their inefficiency in getting a prime minister candidate who has a clean record.
“Their attempt to play on this issue shows that they do not want people to see their serious setback (in being unable to name a PM candidate),” he said.
Kepala Batas incumbent MP Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican thanked Umno’s leadership, especially party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who has affirmed several times that Ismail Sabri is the prime minister candidate.
He added that Ahmad Zahid wants to see the party strong and one of the factors for that is by making the Bera MP its candidate for the premiership.
“We are all rallying behind that agenda and that move. We want to see a more stable government, a more prosperous nation coming from the able leadership of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri,” said Reezal Merican, who was housing and local government minister in Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet.
Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said he was not surprised over the accusations by Opposition leaders that a vote for Barisan is a vote to free Ahmad Zahid and former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak from their ongoing court cases.
“The Opposition is playing with sentiments. Ismail Sabri is Barisan’s choice for prime minister,” he added.
PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli had reportedly said that a vote for Barisan’s candidate Khairy Jamaluddin in the Sungai Buloh parliamentary seat was akin to a vote for Ahmad Zahid.
Meanwhile, Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan said it was the decision of the party that Ismail Sabri would be the prime minister candidate.
“I am confident because the party’s leadership, including the president (Ahmad Zahid), has said it several times – that the party’s decision will be carried out and adhered to,” he told reporters at an event.
Shahril also said that a letter that had been circulated on social media – where certain conditions were allegedly laid out to candidates including pledging their support for Ahmad Zahid as prime minister – was fake.
Last Thursday, a police report was lodged over the letter, which alleged that Barisan communications director Datuk Seri Shamsul Annuar Nasarah had pledged to support Ahmad Zahid as prime minister.
Shamsul has also dismissed the letter as fake and said its distribution was made with malicious intent.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has started an investigation into the matter.