KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim is more than capable to run for the elections, acknowledges Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, but he said Shahidan’s time has passed.

Ahmad Zahid said this when he met the press after his corruption trial involving Yayasan Akalbudi (YAB) was vacated yesterday.

He said Umno’s decision to replace Shahidan with another candidate was made after taking into consideration the needs of voters in Perlis as well as the state itself.

“The decision to field new faces is part of our rejuvenation efforts. It is also to ensure that the youth is involved and the votes of those under 40 years old will not be marginalised.

“We need to change. In politics no one person is indispensable, but all people are important.

“Those who have been in politics for a long time give way to become role models, while the younger ones start to take their places and positions as future leaders,” he added.

Shahidan, who is incumbent MP for Arau, was among Barisan Nasional ministers and deputy ministers dropped from the election race.

Others are Tan Sri Annuar Musa (Ketereh), Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba (Tenggara), Datuk Halimah Mohamed Sadique (Kota Tinggi), Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (Padang Besar) and Datuk Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar).

Meanwhile, Perlis Umno chief Datuk Seri Azlan Man said the party will consolidate its members and will put up a good fight in the national polls despite two party giants in the state being axed.

Azlan believes that party members at the grassroots, especially in Arau and Padang Besar, will remain loyal even though two prominent leaders were dropped.

He said based on the party’s past experience, members did not budge from supporting Barisan and that the differences of opinion were only temporary.

“We (Perlis Umno) will get through this phase, it’s just a storm in a small cloud and will not last long,” he was quoted by Bernama.

Puteri Umno chief Datuk Zahida Zarik Khan was named as the coalition candidate for Padang Besar replacing Zahidi, while former Arau division vice-chief Datuk Rozabil Abd Rahman was named as candidate for Arau.

Umno Youth executive council member Datuk Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahya will contest in Kangar for Barisan.

Azlan said the candidates come with impressive credentials and are capable of helping the coalition secure victory in Perlis.