KUCHING: Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem is taking his time to announce the Barisan Nasional (BN) direct candidates because he wants to ensure he picks candidates who are well accepted by the people and can win seats.

Political analyst Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) said there was no point in having a popular chief minister like Adenan but candidates fielded are unpopular among the people and might lose in the election.

Jeniri said based on his eight-month statewide research across all ethnic groups in Sarawak, he found that there were 22 problematic seats out of the total 82 seats in the coming state election.

“These seats can turn gray and white towards the coming election campaign depending on the choice of candidates and campaign strategies,” he told Bernama.

He said the delay was also due to seat tussle between the BN component and BN friendly parties.

“There were also seats where there were so many aspirants, for example in Ba Kelalan and a lot of lobbying from individuals who wanted to be the BN candidate.

“In certain seats (there are instances) where the chief minister has already announced the candidate but later discovered there is another aspirant who is a more popular and winnable candidate,” added Jeniri.

Another political analysis Datuk Peter Minos said the chief minister has to find consensus and compromise between the competing BN parties to prevent division and split in the coming state election.

The former Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) deputy publicity chief said any dissension within BN in any seat was an advantage to opposition and the chief minister wanted to prevent this by not allowing the opposition to win in any seat by default.

“The direct BN candidate formula is the only option left when BN parties in any constituency cannot agree on the common candidate on the status of that constituency,” said Minos, who heads the PBB publicity sub-committee for this election.

He said the BN direct candidate formula had been applied in the past parliamentary elections in Sarawak, involving Hulu Rajang and Mambong constituencies and proved successful.

Minos opined that a BN direct candidate was one who must be winnable on the merits, acceptable by the voters and people and likeable.

He said it would be an added advantage if he or she was free from any serious problems with any party or key personality in his constituency.

“Take Datuk Dr. Jerip Susil (incumbent for Bengoh and Public Health Assistant Minister in Adenan’s cabinet), he has been announced as the BN direct candidate in Mambong because the chief minister sees in him a ‘consensus’ man who gets along with all and he has no particular political enemy in Mambong,” said Minos.

Dr. Jerip, he said, has the advantage of being the incumbent and has something to show as to his work and achievement.