PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK)- Prime Minister Najib Razak held an important meeting on Monday (April 16), reminding lawmakers of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition to remain loyal - no matter how disappointed they may be if they were to be dropped in the May 9 general election.
The meeting, which started at 9am on Monday (April 16) and lasted about 30 minutes, was among the last few steps to be taken before the candidate list is finalised.
BN is expected to announce its list of candidates for the country's 14th general election seven to 10 days before the nomination day on April 28.
Mr Najib, the BN chairman, gathered the coalition's 130 lawmakers at his official residence Seri Perdana in what was seen as the last "pep talk" with them to stress loyalty and continuous support for BN and its component parties.
Members of the media were out in full force at the Seri Perdana entrance, waiting for the MPs . Not all of the lawmakers chose to enter or leave through the Seri Perdana entrance.
Najib held a similar meeting back in 2013.
Sources said this was his gentle way of telling some of them that they might not be contesting.
The majority of BN's lawmakers made it to the meeting.
Najib first addressed them as a group, followed by breakfast.
Sources said the incumbents appeared calm as they listened to his speech.
"But it was obvious that they were anxious. On Najib's part, there was no hint whatsoever on who is in or who is out," said a source.
Those who attended the meeting described Najib as a picture of calm, which party insiders said belied the "headache" he was facing in trying to ensure that those who were dropped would not resort to sulking - or worse, sabotage.
While political onlookers expected him to have informed those who were dropped, this did not happen.Neither did Najib inform anyone in Umno (United Malays National Organisation ) or BN that they had been picked for the upcoming polls.
"The message at the meeting was clear - accept any decision on candidacy. This is the time to put Barisan and party matters above self-interest," said the source.
According to another source, Najib told those present: "Those among you who are dropped, I hope you will still be my friend."
Barisan secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said the meeting "was to remind our lawmakers not to sabotage Barisan if they are not fielded this time".
"It was also to drive home the message that they should not boycott if a seat is given to another component party.
"If we want to win, the Barisan chairman's message must be adhered to," he said.
In 2013, Najib met Barisan's incumbents on April 11, nine days before nomination day, which fell on April 20.
During that closed-door briefing at Putra World Trade Centre, he told BN candidates who were about to be dropped that they had 24 hours to sulk, after which they should help with the campaigning.
In 2008, then BN chairman Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that sabotage by Umno members caused the coalition to lose the states of Perak and Kedah to the opposition.