Najib holds meeting ahead of polls

Petaling Jaya (The Star/ANN) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has scheduled another marathon session with Barisan Nasional component party leaders next week to tie up loose ends in the allocation of seats and choice of candidates.

According to sources, allotment of constituencies in the peninsula has been settled except for the Federal Territory and Selangor. Seat sharing in Sabah and Sarawak will be resolved at the same time.

"We hope everything can be finalised next week," said a participant of the more-than-seven-hours session on Thursday when the prime minister and Barisan chairman met component party presidents and other top officials state-by-state.

The meeting and the planned follow-up have fuelled speculation that the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) will be dissolved this month to pave the way for the 13th general election.

Meanwhile, sources said it was best for Barisan to maintain status quo over who was to stand in which constituency in Pahang and Kedah "so as not to rock the boat".

"However, there will be a number of swapping of seats among the Barisan component parties," said Kota Belud MP Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

"This is a normal practice in Barisan," he said. "But this time, we are looking into the possibility of fielding direct Barisan candidates under the friends of BN' concept."

Perlis mufti Dr Juanda Jaya, who is reported to be among those being considered to run as a direct Barisan candidate, said both the ruling coalition and Pakatan Rakyat were wooing him.

"I have not made a decision but, in any case, fielding direct candidates is not something new," he said.

"It has been done before in my home state (of Sarawak)."

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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