KUALA NERUS, Feb 26 (Bernama) -- Only Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, as Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman and UMNO president, has the power to decide on the BN candidates contesting in the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14), said UMNO deputy president, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
The Deputy Prime Minister said that until the announcement is made, the party cannot prevent any party member from claiming that he or she is a candidate contesting in GE14.
"We cannot stop or prevent anyone from making any claim but we must abide and accept the decision of the PM as BN chairman and UMNO president.
"At the moment, the PM is having consultations with the Menteris Besar of the respective states as chairmen of the respective State UMNO Liaison Body in the peninsula and Sabah to determine the final list of candidates based on the criteria that have been specified," he said.
He disclosed this to reporters after officiating the Terengganu Expo "Molek Doh" at the grounds of Stadium Gong Badak, Kuala Nerus, here today.
Also present were Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman and wife, Toh Puan Seri Halina Zakaria, State Secretary Datuk Seri Wan Nawawi Wan Ismail, Terengganu state government leaders and 40,000 visitors to the expo.
Ahmad Zahid was responding to questions from the press regarding the 'leak' in the list of BN candidates contesting in GE14, the date of which had yet to be decided.
Commenting further, he said the top leadership would only select suitable candidates based on the criteria specified by the top leadership, and not based on 'wishful thinking'.
"Anyone can dream...we have certain methodology, not based on dreams, we make our own study based on the criteria of who is the individual that the voters like and his capability to win besides his ability to look after the interest of the constituents and maintain a sense of belonging with the other leaders," he added.