March 14, 2009 By SYLVIA LOOI
TAIPING: Solid Waste Management and Public Cleaning Corporation human resources director Ismail Safian has been named as the Barisan Nasional candidate for the upcoming Bukit Gantang parliamentary by-election.
Announcing the name during a meet-the-people session at Simpang near here on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said with Ismail as the candidate, Barisan stood a better chance of winning back the seat, which was previously won by PAS.
“The most important thing is the candidate can work with the divisions leadership to cut down on friction or suspicion,” said Najib, who is also Perak Barisan chief.
While Barisan had considered several names before deciding on Ismail, Najib said one of the criteria was Ismail being a local boy.
“We surveyed and shared opinion with other leaders before deciding on him,” he added, noting that division leaders also gave their full support on Ismail’s candidacy.
Najib also said that as a pre-condition for Ismail’s candidacy, he was not supposed to contest the Bukit Gantang Umno division chief post.
In a separate press conference, Ismail, 48, said he had no qualms about being barred from standing for the division chief’s post.
“My resolution is to serve the people of Bukit Gantang to the best of my ability,” said the Universiti Sains Malaysia graduate from the Housing, Building and Planning faculty.
Asked to rate his chances, Ismail said Barisan stood a good chance of reclaiming the seat as the people had realised that the opposition had cheated them.
“My survey among people of all races confirmed that,” he said, adding that the support now was better than last year.
The father of three girls and two boys, aged between 24 and 10, is now the deputy Kampung Kubu Umno branch chairman.
He joined Umno in 1982 and became Bukit Gantang Umno divisions Youth secretary in 1984.
His highest position in the party was the division’s information chief, which he held between 2004 and 2008.
The Bukit Gantang parliamentary seat fell vacant following the death of its former MP Roslan Shahrum on Feb 9.
The Elections Commission has fixed March 29 as nomination date while polling date falls on April 7.