"I don't know and I'm not sure, that's an honest answer for you. I don't decide whether I become candidate or not."The above quote taken from The Star here is Foreign Affairs Minister and MP for Kimanis, Sabah, Dato Anifah Aman claming unsure to defend the seat he won in the last three General Election at an increasing majority.
Unless he volunteered to withdraw, no sensible political observer would believe the younger brother to Sabah Chief Minister, Tan Sri Musa Aman not be selected.
Though a leader with political influence and strength of his own in Sabah, independent of his brother, Anifah is acknowledging the power to determine candidate to represent the party for the general election lies with the leadership.
It is an important reminder to all aspiring politicians. One can work to reach to a certain position in politics, but selection to be candidate and to higher level public office is God's will through decision of those above.
At higher level of position, one has to resigned to fate. The final throw of the dice at the right time, place and situation could be the determinant.
One highly qualified potential candidate for Parliamentary seat in Perak confided he was supposed to be candidate twice. In one occasion, the close confidante of Pak Lah was denied because the then PM decided to switch the seat from UMNO to Gerakan.
Dato Kamaruddin Ahmad, the former Ketua Pemuda of Selangor during Dato Najib era as Ketua Pemuda was and still an ideal candidate for any seats in Shah Alam. If he was selected, he could have won on the two occasions BN lost. But he was twice denied due to circumstances.
Still active in undertaking public interest issue like Ijok land controversy. Still carry weight with the constituent. It only shows winnability need the right situation and alliance to make it happen.
The ultimate power to select the candidate to represent all political parties lies with party leadership. EC require letter of authorisation from the party to register candidate as representing a political party.
The decision to select the candidate depends on the candidate's acceptability to the constituents, his capability, his political and professional resume, acceptance of local divisional and national level party leadership, etc.
Blogger turn Facebooker, Zaharin Yaasin wrote his criteria to select candidate:
Seldom one find a perfect situation where candidate meet all these criteria. There is always some balancing act needed
The party leadership also has to grapple with not only local request, but to do various political balancing in filling positions, legislative versus executive roles, internal party positioning, etc.
No room for personal agenda
At times, conflict could arise. For instance, Dato Johari Ghani's candidacy for Titiwangsa is being questioned by aspiring Division Ketua Pemuda and exco member of Pemuda UMNO Malaysia.
Rumour is being spread as though the Ketua Pemuda is close to certain family members of PM. However, the protest is unjustified and more character attack on Johari's no-nonsence leadership style.
There is no basis to question the division head, commited MP to the affair of his constituent, and a full Minister.
There should be no personal agenda in aspiring for candidacy. Candidate must be personally committed and motivated to serve the people, willingness to lead a selfless life, and dedication to public office without other ulterior motive.
In one situation in northern Sabah, the local competition for candidacy is so intense that party members are willing to betray BN. The local vehemently reject a state leadership preference for a perceived weak and yes man candidate.
In Perak, both local party member and divisional leadership rejected an incumbent deemed to have involved family member and badly administered allocation for the constituency.
Party leadership need to have their ears to the ground and be aware of such sensitivities and possible explosive issues.
Officers assisting party leadership must walk the ground and not just assessing from afar in the comfort of air-conditioned room in the top floors of some office in Putrajaya.
In cases party leadership need to make hard decision, the anticipated reactions must be handled and problems pre-empted.
When voters hate certain candidate, no amount consoling can reverse their decision. High handed ways must be avoided. Back door engagement should be done.
However, where it involves sabotage within the party by those on the payroll those formerly in the party leadership as happened in Sabah, then there should be no tolerance and those within the party still bankrolling them should be rejected for party high office.
Both party leadership - nationally and local level - should open their heart to accept young and potentially capable candidate be given a chance. Parachuting them need be managed and not forced on the local.
The party need a succession plan and majority of voters are below 40. Its their world now!