With the voters being more discerning, political parties strive to select candidates who can meet their minimum standard or criteria. Some may insist on having professional qualifications or university degrees as basic requirement and add to that, track records of some social or party work.
With the damaging effects of party-hopping by Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen, loyalty has become a key factor when choosing candidates. But how could this be ascertained? It is almost impossible because unless and until a likely target has been approached and offered rewards, nobody would know how he or she would respond. Rm1 million might be resistible, but a person might be open to persuasion with a bigger amount. But then again, all these factors are from the point of view of leadership involved in selection. How would they know whether their criteria meet the expectations of the voters? A highly qualified person with a good track record of services might lack personality which would appeal to the voters. Some qualified people without social skills are only good as backroom persons involved in planning strategies and organization. While some with excellent inter-personal skills are hopeless in organization and actual work! But they could be winnable as far as the voters are concerned.
When I was in Form 5, a classmate suggested that we nominate each other for House elections. I can honestly say that it never occur to me at all to think of standing for election, being a quiet and shy boy. So what started out as some joke (at least to me) turned out that I won as House Captain! I think the classmate had a rude awakening while another who was better in studies and thought he would definitely win, actually complained to the House Master that the election was unfair because those who voted for me were actually from Forms 1 and 2! But everyone was entitled to one vote regardless of what level of education, so his complaint was overruled. This simple example illustrates the fact that a winnable candidate could just be somebody who happens to have a pleasant personality, and nothing else! I was a non-participating (as in not a sportsman) House Captain and our Green House nearly became the champion house.
In our political scene, there are some obviously well known personalities like Raja Petra, Haris Ibrahim, Ambiga and Wong Chin Huat, to name just a few, who could win an election easily even on their own. They are the exceptions because the voters generally recognize party banners unless the candidate is really well known.
I think it is unfair that Pakatan Rakyat's application for registration as a coalition has been unduly delayed for reasons best known to the decision-makers. To add to this, the Election Commission insists that only the candidate's party banner can be displayed during an election campaign. Therefore, while a common symbol for PR is denied, a PKR candidate cannot have PAS or DAP banners to support him or her. Whereas BN banners could represent all the 14 component parties, some of which are really unknown, while others are becoming irrelevant. BN has come to depend so much on their common identity that it will be to their great disadvantage if they were asked to display only a candidate's party symbol. This is because the three major parties are so obviously racial while the others are relatively unknown.
To those who are in a party's CEC tasked to select winnable candidates, I wish to remind them that for each local constituency, some local feedback is also important. The local sentiments could have changed. A past popular candidate might have become unpopular, jealousy among potential candidates could create problems, a total outsider might be resented by locals, and so on.
I was in a Pusing coffee shop when DAP ADUNs YB Sivakumar and YB Lim Pek Har were doing their walkabout. After an exchange of pleasantries and after they had left, it sort of started us on a topic about who will stand for elections in the local constituencies. One said potential candidates are keen on Jelapang because 'anybody could win' if stand against unpopular Hee. But I believe, she will not be fielded by BN. She will be dumped after having been made use of to enable BN's power grab in Perak.