ALOR SETAR: Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir is tipped to be the next Mentri Besar if Barisan Nasional wins Kedah. The guessing game of who will be Barisan's choice should end today when the coalition releases its candidate list. Mukhriz, the Jerlun MP, will likely contest the Ayer Hitam state seat, fuelling speculation that he would be the likely MB.
Barisan Kedah coordinator Datuk Ahmad Bashah Md Hanipah will name the candidates at Dewan Anak Bukit today. The likely new candidates are Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's political secretary Datuk Sahlan Ismail (Pokok Sena), activist Dr Zaki Zamani Abdul Rashid (Kuala Kedah) and Mubarak Malaysia vice-president Datuk Othman Abdul (Pendang).
Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom, who is now a senator, will stand in Jerai while Datuk Suraya Yaacob will contest in Sg Tiang. Long-serving Langkawi MP Datuk Abu Bakar Taib is the only MP to be dropped. Datuk Nawawi Ahmad will contest the Langkawi seat and Langkawi Umno youth chief Norsaidi Nayan will stand the Kuah seat.
Of the 15 parliamentary seats, Umno is contesting 13 and MCA two. For state seats, Umno will have 28, followed by MCA (four), Gerakan (two) and MIC (two). MCA is fielding new faces in Kota Darul Aman (Alor Setar division secretary Loh Gim Hooi), Bakar Arang (state deputy secretary Dr Lee Yean Wang) and Kulim (coordinator Chua Thiong Gee). Dr Leong Yong Kong will be defending his seat in Gurun.
Gerakan would likely field Sungai Petani assistant secretary Bee Sieong Heng in Sidam while Dr Cheah Soon Hai will defend his Derga seat. Kedah MIC chairman S. Ananthan would likely contest the Lunas state seat while vice-chairman M.L. Maran is expected to be fielded in Bukit Selambau. (The Star)