Anwar Ibrahim to contest vacated Port Dickson seat

Anwar Ibrahim to contest vacated Port Dickson seat

FILE PHOTO: Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim speaks with the media as former Indonesian President
Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim. (File photo: REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan)

PORT DICKSON: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president-elect Anwar Ibrahim will contest the Port Dickson seat in a by-election, it was announced on Wednesday (Sep 12).

Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, the current member of parliament for Port Dickson in Negeri Sembilan, announced at a news conference that he will vacate his seat, paving the way for Anwar's return to Malaysia's parliament. 

"I am confident that Yang Berbahagia Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim will win the seat - hands down - and proceed to become the next member of parliament for Port Dickson. And eventually become our nation's eighth prime minister," Danyal said. 

"Hence, I am now announcing my resignation as a member of the House of Representatives in the Malaysian parliament with immediate effect."

Present at the press conference were PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, vice-president Rafizi Ramli, Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul and Wangsa Maju MP Tan Yee Kew. 

Saifuddin told the media that he was instructed by Anwar himself to make the announcement. He said Anwar, who is currently in Hong Kong, had already informed Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad about the decision.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu have expressed support over the party's decision, Saifuddin said.

Saifuddin added that the party has begun the process for Anwar to return to parliament. He also said that Anwar will not hold any government post if he wins the by-election and will focus on parliamentary reform.

In the coming by-election, Anwar will contend with a potential UMNO-PAS alliance.

"There is no indication that the voting pattern from last general election is going to be reversed," said Rafizi.

"I am sure Anwar Ibrahim, as the (future) prime minister, would inject more excitement on the ground and hopefully we would be able to garner interest to achieve the voter turnout that we want." 

Anwar, 70, was freed from prison on May 16 after receiving a royal pardon from the Malaysian king.

He began serving a five-year sentence in February 2015 after the Malaysian high court upheld his conviction and sentence on a charge of having sodomised a former personal aide.

DANYAL WILL BE ANWAR'S 'EYES AND EARS' ON THE GROUND

Danyal won the Port Dickson seat in the May 9 general election with 36,255 votes. Barisan Nasional's V S Mogan had 18,515 votes while Parti Islam Se-Malaysia's (PAS) Mahfuz Roslan had 6,594. 

Vacating the seat to make way for Anwar does not amount to betrayal to voters, said Saifuddin. 

"Betrayal is when we steal the people’s money, when we use our position to enrich ourselves, when we have power, we suppress the people.

“But in a democratic system, the road for us to represent the people in Parliament is through an election, and in this situation, it is done with the specific intention of implementing a consensus,” he said. 

As for Danyal, he said he will continue to contribute to the parliamentary constituency. 

"I am not quitting my people, I am staying in Port Dickson and I will be Anwar's eyes and ears on the ground for him," he added.

Source: CNA/na(rw/ra)

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