KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has reportedly been selected as Umno’s poster boy to spearhead its campaign to regain Selangor in the 15th general elections (GE15).
The former chief executive of CIMB has won allies at the top and mid-levels of Umno to gain their blessing for his candidacy in Kuala Selangor, sources told Singapore-based Straits Times.
“It will only be decided later whether Tengku Zafrul will contest a state or parliamentary seat. Either way, it will be a shot in the arm for Selangor Umno,” a source was quoted as saying.
The Singaporean English daily noted that Tengku Zafrul would have to leave his position at the Ministry of Finance if he contests one of the three state wards in Kuala Selangor, but that he would be in the running to be appointed chief minister of Selangor as the state’s sultan is allegedly open to swearing him in if BN were to win Selangor.
He will also reportedly be appointed as treasurer of Selangor BN on Sunday at a ceremony that will be attended by the coalition’s top state leaders.
The Straits Times attributed Tengku Zafrul’s success in winning over allies to his large following on social media, his closeness to DAP figures such as chairman and former finance minister Lim Guan Eng, and his close relationship with many royals
Tengku Zafrul was also described as part of a small group of younger figures in Umno, which includes Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, and Umno Youth chief Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.
Just last month he dismissed rumours of his political ambition and the rumour that he will be contesting the Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat.
“My focus now is on the country’s economic recovery efforts.
“Right now I am still working at the MoF (Ministry of Finance) and not thinking about politics. We have been facing very difficult challenges managing the economic recovery so I am focusing on my work,” he said at a Hari Raya event on June 8.
When asked about his intention to contest, he said: “Not at this point in time”.
The Kuala Selangor parliamentary seat is currently held by Amanah's Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad, who reportedly said he would not contest in GE15 because he wanted to give way to the party’s young leaders.