Shahrir Samad is already synonymous with JB as a long-time MP since Tun Mahathr’s era. Since winning the 1988 by-election as an independent candidate, his popularity has surged, even more so as his presence in the state capital is increasingly felt. He rejoined UMNO in 2004 and had served for a while in the Cabinet after the 2008 general election. However, his popularity remains intact. As the FELDA issue still persists, Najib entrusted Shahrir with a task to oversee the agency by appointing him as the new Chairman to replace Tan Sri Isa Samad.
In view of the current political clout in Malaysia, it is nevertheless hard to predict how Shahrir will fare in the upcoming election. However, let us be positive. Given his popularity, Shahrir is not likely to bow to the opposition. The worst is that he will only lose his marginal votes. JB, being the heart of state administration and a striving commercial centre due to its proximity to Singapore, is vital for BN and as such, Shahrir is the one and only who can save the city from culminating into the opposition’s hand. Let us not be deceived by rumours that his popularity is eroding and that it is a foregone conclusion that he will lose the race because the people in JB are dissatisfied with the Government. No! That is not the scenario.
To conclude, it is the person which matters, not the Government. It does not matter if the people are dissatisfied with federal administration. It is a well-known fact that Shahrir has a firm base in JB. To field another candidate from the opposition and even from UMNO / BN will not solve the problem as the people are not acquainted with the new faces. Furthermore, Shahrir has no issues. He is indeed an asset to JB and Johor as well.