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BAGAN DATOH: Barisan Nasional (BN) needs a combination of professionals and those from the party hierarchy as candidates for the 13th general election, says Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"Umno cannot field all candidates from among the professionals or all from among the divisional leaders and members for the coming elections.
"I hope the Umno leadership will not reject the professionals altogether who should hail from the areas contested, as they can be credible candidates," he said after handing out computer laptops to 1,000 secondary students in the Bagan Datoh parliamentary constituency, here, today.
He was responding to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statement yesterday that Umno should practise meritocracy in choosing candidates for the coming general election by including professionals and intellectuals in order to ensure victory for Barisan Nasional.
The former Umno president said the party had not been giving the opportunity to outsiders because the divisional members themselves did not support such candidates, but they should realise that victory would be determined by voters and not by Umno members alone.
Ahmad Zahid agreed with Dr Mahathir views, describing it as relevant in today's political scenario, and that Umno should also look at the number of professionals in the party.
He said the inclusion of professionals as candidates would lend credibility to the party.
"This is because today's society is more sophisticated and intelligent in judging which party can field candidates who can serve the people and country well," said Ahmad Zahid, adding that BN had already started looking for such candidates from among the professionals.
Meanwhile, Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said fielding professionals and intellectuals as candidates for the general election was not something new as it had been done before.
"To me, it should not be a difficult thing (for the professionals to join Umno and be selected as candidates)....when the party thinks it is in the best interest of a state and the country.
"The prime minister had also stated before that those with the edge and well liked by the people in an area were potential winners in the general election," he said. -- BERNAMA