Arif Shah, 52, a two-term BN state representative speaks fluent Mandarin, - an advantage obviously seen by the BN as a move to win back back the Chinese voters.
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak made the announcement last night after launching BN's election machinery in Seberang Jaya, which is among the three state seats under the Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency
Najib, who is also the Umno deputy president and BN deputy head, introduced its candidate to about 1,500 BN leaders and supporters, reports malaysiakini.
Extracts from Malaysiakini below:
By-election: Arif Shah is BN's choice
Najib later told reporters that Arif Shah was picked because he had successfully defended the Seberang Jaya seat in the last general election, which was an exception when almost all other Umno/BN candidates had tumbled.
The Seberang Jaya state constituency is one of three state seats under Permatang Pauh. The other two - Permatang Pasir and Penanti - are presently held by PAS and PKR respectively.
On the rare BN practice to select a standing state representative to contest for a by-election, Najib said "this is not a BN tradition but there is nothing to stop us from making this decision as it is not against (BN) constitution".
"There are a few opposition leaders who also contested on both parliamentary and state seats in the last general election," he said.
As for the candidate himself, Arif Shah said that he was confident of wrestling the seat away from PKR. He however added that he might not be able to do so with an overwhelming majority.
"Anwar may be good in one thing but not everything. People need a service-oriented MP," he added.
The seat fell vacant after its incumbent Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail vacated it on July 31 to allow her husband Anwar to contest as a way back to the Parliament.
Nomination is on Aug 16, coming Saturday.
Arif Shah was among the front-runner to be chosen by Umno to run for this by-election. The other favourite candidate was party state treasurer and former deputy minister of rural development Zainal Abidin Osman.
Local residents told Malaysiakini that Arif Shah had "multiracial and youthful appeal" and was "well-liked beyond communal boundaries, are enterprising and untainted clean personality".
Arif Shah's ace in the sleeve is that, he is familiar with Anwar's political style, having served as Permatang Pauh Youth chief when Anwar headed the Umno division there.
The are 58,459 voters - of which 490 are postal voters - as of July 31 at this constituency. - Malaysiakini