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ARKIB : 12/03/2004

Dr Khir Toyo to defend Sungai Panjang, Muhammad not contesting

SHAH ALAM March 11 - Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo will defend his Sungai Panjang state seat, contrary to speculations that he will be assigned a parliamentary seat.

UMNO Vice-President Tan Sri Muhammmad Muhd Taib, a former Selangor Menteri Besar, meanwhile will not make a comeback as speculated after all in the coming 11th General Election.

His name was not included the Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates list which was revealed by Dr Khir, who is State BN Chief Thursday.

The list also includes 33 new faces, nine for parliamentary seats and 24 for state seats.

For the first time, Gerakan has been allocated a parliamentary seat in Selangor. Its candidate, Lau Yeng Peng will contest the Puchong seat.

The inclusion of Senator Datuk Abdul Aziz Samsudin, who is Deputy Education Minister, in the Selangor BN candidates list to contest the Shah Alam parliamentary seat was another surprise.

The Gopeng UMNO pro-tem chief was earlier speculated to contest in Perak.

Dr Khir described the Selangor BN candidates as a mix of professionals, businessmen and those with religious education.

"It's the best line-up, representing all levels of society. It provides the foundation for the party to make a clean sweep of all the seats contested," he said at the news conference at the Selangor UMNO Building.

Selangor has 22 parliamentary and 56 state seats.

Dr Khir also announced that four State Executive Councillors would not seek re-election.

They are Datuk Shariff Jajang (Dengkil), Datuk Dr Zainal Abidin Ahmad (Dusun Tua), Datin Norkhaila Jamaluddin (Taman Medan) and Datuk Lum Weng Keong (Bukit Lanjan).

While thanking them for their contribution to the state, he said the party needed their service to help the new faces win the election.

He also advised those nominated to contest to go to and talk to the people at night and Sunday markets to make themselves familiar.

Dr Khir also urged members of BN component parties to work as a team to ensure victory for the coalition front.

On why Muhammad, who is also Selangor BN deputy chief, was not nominated, he said it was the decision of the leadership.

"I've discussed the matter with Tan Sri (Muhammad) and he said he would continue to serve and work hard for the party. We are veryy happy and very grateful to have a leader like Tan Sri," he said.

Muhammad, who was also present at the news conference, said he was not disappointed with the decision and would give his help to the BN candidates.

"We must support the party and ensure those fielded will win the election."

On the rationale of nominating Abdul Aziz, Dr Khir said he had been a resident of Anggerik for sometime.

Saying the Selangor BN was not afraid of professionals from Selangor Pas, he said those nominated had been under the watchful eyes of the leadership over the past two years.

On the contrary, he said Pas candidates had to contest both the state and parliamentary seats as it did not enough people to nominate as candidates.

Dr Khir also said the BN candidates screened by the police and the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and they were all clean.

He said Selangor BN was confident of a clean sweep this time around compared to the 1999 General Election.

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