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Zahid: Ismail still BN's PM candidate, but...

The Umno president reiterates the oft-repeated mantra, this time with a constraint.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today reiterated that Ismail Sabri Yaakob remains Barisan Nasional's (BN) candidate for prime minister although adding that it is the Agong's prerogative to choose a leader, in line with the Federal Constitution. 

Zahid, who has maintained that Ismail is the coalition's "poster boy" for the upcoming polls despite claims of attempts to shore up support for himself in this role, said all parties should respect the Agong's "absolute discretion", based on Article 43 of the constitution, The Malay Mail reported.

"So this issue should not be discussed as the process to choose a certain prime minister is not only in the hands of any political parties but also the Agong," he was quoted as saying in a press conference in Bagan Datuk. 

Ismail himself said as recently as yesterday that there had been no change in BN's prime ministerial candidate if it wins the election on Nov 19. 

"If you want to change the decision, it must be done in the Supreme Council, it must be changed in the general assembly," Ismail, an Umno vice-president, said.

"As long as the Supreme Council does not decide otherwise (to change the prime minister candidate), what has been decided is still valid. As of today there is still no change."

However, MalaysiaNow on Nov 1 reported Umno Supreme Council member Zahidi Zainul Abidin as saying that BN candidates for the polls would have to sign statutory declarations (SDs).

"I don't know what the SDs are for. Perhaps in support of Zahid as prime minister. Or maybe the SDs are to ensure that they follow and are loyal to his every instruction," Zahidi, one of several leaders later dropped from BN's line-up, had said. 

Zahid is facing 47 charges in court involving tens of millions belonging to charity outfit Yayasan Akalbudi.