Mixed feelings over likely by-election in Anwar's constituency

Mixed feelings over likely by-election in Anwar's constituency

BUKIT MERTAJAM - While some Permatang Pauh residents are looking forward to a likely by-election, others have mixed feelings about the polls - the third for the constituency in the last seven years.

Forklift operator T. Chandran, 62, said that for now, there were a lot of uncertainties.

"But if there is going to be a by-­election, then I'm looking forward to voting for someone who will help the people here and bring prosperity to the place," he said on Wednesday.

Retired factory worker Lee Ah Bah, 66, said that although he had gone through many elections in the constituency, he would still look forward to a by-election.

"When the call comes for the people to do their responsibility, I will go for it," said Lee, who was, however, coy about which party he supported.

The incumbent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, 67, a sixth-time MP for Permatang Pauh, is set to be disqualified after the Federal Court on Tuesday upheld the PKR adviser's sodomy conviction and five-year jail term by the Court of Appeal.

In August 2008, Anwar won the by-election after his wife and PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail resigned as the MP, and he retained the parliamentary seat in the 2013 general election.

Housewife Jamilah Lazim, 43, lamented that a by-election would be a waste of money and resources.

"They will spend a lot of money for the banners and the election process, and there will be traffic congestion.

"Although it is true that the town will become famous because of the by-election, the expenses do not justify the hassle the people have to go through," she said.

A grocery shop owner, who only wanted to be known as Lee, 33, said Anwar used to frequent charity events for the constituents.

"He would hand out aid to the elderly and needy during festive seasons and inspect the infrastructure in town.

"Even when he was not around, his service team would respond to the people's complaints," he added.

Several elderly men at a coffeeshop here, when asked, said they would support Anwar even though he had to serve a jail sentence.

Meanwhile, Penang Barisan Nasional chief Teng Chang Yeow said the coalition was waiting for Penang Umno to finalise its candidate.

"Penang Barisan is now waiting for the official announcement by the Election Commission," Teng said.

On Tuesday, Penang Umno chief Datuk Seri Zainal Abidin Osman said the state Umno had done some preliminary work in preparation for a possible by-election last year after the Court of Appeal had on March 7, 2014, overturned the High Court ruling and found Anwar guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, 30, at the Desa Damansara condominium in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, on June 26, 2008.

Anwar was sentenced to five years' impri­sonment.

Article 48(1)(e) of the Federal Constitution states that an MP can be disqualified if he is jailed more than a year or fined more than RM2,000 (S$754).

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