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Malaysia opposition chief Anwar does not rule out contesting in seat held by PKR ‘traitors’

Malaysia opposition chief Anwar does not rule out contesting in seat held by PKR ‘traitors’

File photo of Anwar Ibrahim. (Photo: AFP/Mohd Rasfan)

PETALING JAYA: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has not ruled out contesting for a parliamentary seat held by a former Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmaker in the next Malaysian general election.

According to Malaysian media reports, Mr Anwar did not specify which seat he would be contesting but only said that the seat must have an “added advantage” for PKR and Pakatan Harapan (PH). 

"Honestly, I have not decided on the choice of the seat to contest but I will certainly consider a seat held by a ‘traitor’ of PKR and PH”, he was quoted as saying by Bernama during an event with journalists on Wednesday evening (Sep 28).

The PKR president and Member of Parliament for Port Dickson said that he would pick areas held by “traitors” to send a message that treachery in politics is not acceptable.

Although he did not reveal which seat he would be contesting in, he did not rule out the Gombak parliamentary seat, if the party leadership decides he should.

“Gombak? Not necessarily so, but I’m not ruling it out,” Mr Anwar was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.

He was responding to a question whether he would contest in Gombak which is currently held by former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who left the party in Feb 2020.

Mr Azmin, who is now the Senior Minister of International Trade and Industry in Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government, left PKR together with another 9 PKR MPs in a move dubbed as the “Sheraton Move”.

They joined MPs from the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) who also left the PH government. The move led to the collapse of the 22-month-old administration of then prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Apart from Mr Azmin, other PKR MPs who had left the party and are now in Mr Ismail Sabri’s Cabinet are Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang, Selangor), Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah (Indera Mahkota, Pahang) and Deputy Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Edmund Santhara (Segamat, Johor).

 

According to local media reports on Monday, Mr Anwar denied claims that he was going to contest in Ampang.

The opposition leader also denied that he was afraid of defending his seat in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, as it is a Malay-majority constituency, the Star reported. 

Mr Anwar said that he contested in the seat previously because he wanted to improve the constituency.

He was elected Port Dickson MP in an October 2018 by-election after he received a royal pardon and was released from prison over a sodomy charge.

Before that, he had been Permatang Pauh MP in Penang.

There are signs that Mr Ismail Sabri might call for an early election this year as pressure has been mounting on him from his own United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to dissolve parliament soon.

There have also been calls within his own Cabinet and other opposition leaders against holding the election this year due to the possibility of an impending flood season. 

Source: CNA/ih(aw)
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