KUALA LUMPUR: Barisan Nasional's decision to make an early announcement on its 14th general election (GE14) candidates will be advantageous to both contestants and voters, other than a measure deem effective to deter 'cah keting' or sabotage.
The move had also been described as an "improvement" and "transformation" in efforts to strengthen machinery at all levels particularly at the grassroots.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said an early announcement would allow issues such as dissatisfaction over candidate selection to be addressed.
He pointed out that the approach would also allow more time for new faces among candidates to be familiar with voters and fully utilise the campaign period.
"Due to the short campaign period, the first few days are usually used to address those who are dissatisfied with the selection of candidates.
New Straits Times Press today reported that a ceremony was expected to be held at the Putra World Trade Centre, where all candidates would be presented with letters of credentials by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who is also BN chairman.
Sources say BN was breaking tradition this time around "to inject a fighting spirit" into candidates to face what has been termed as the “mother of all elections”.
In the last general election, Najib had only presented letters of credentials to candidates through their respective component parties at a ceremony on April 15, 2013 — five days before nomination day.
Another Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi expressed confidence that an early announcement would be the best approach to resolving teething issues.
"An early announcement will provide the leadership with enough time to address issues in order to prevent them from persisting right until during the campaign period. There was a case that could not be resolved back then."
Puad also said if candidates were found to be hampered by court cases or personal issues, the leadership would have ample time to replace them with new candidates.
"I do hope (BN component) parties will not cower before or entertain threats from any quarters that dissatisfied with the candidate selection.
"I also hope for the leadership to consider views by divisional leaders on candidate selection, as the ones who had worked hard for the party should not be sidelined. If this is not looked into, and it can lead to being the main cause of a sabotage."
Meanwhile, MCA Women chief Datuk Heng Seai Kie said an early announcement on candidates would allow new faces to be known by machinery and voters immediately.
"It will also allow more time for candidates to be familiar local issues and voters' wishes."