Sifa I did not understand what you were trying to achieve, If I am not mistaken you want first item to be empty so its default to empty you can simply merge an empty array with your data set, or alternatively just set the select2 placeholder option to something like "please select"
Thanks again Alirz23 … problem turned out to be that I did not define a model property called Areas (i did at one point but it got deleted in a crazy clean-up exercise). This resulted in the select2 being populated with some values. But thanks also for the feedback … i am using the placeholder option now … neat! New to yii and loving it.