PKR to announce which seat Anwar Ibrahim plans to contest
KLANG - Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) said it will announce on Wednesday (Sept 12) which seat Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will be contesting in a by-election to enter Parliament.
Party sources said many issues were taken into consideration before the final decision was made.
The possible seats were discussed within selected groups of loyalists, who were entrusted with the responsibility of crafting an action plan to get PKR president-elect Anwar elected as an MP.
"Some of the seats that were offered belonged to three-term MPs who are division chiefs with strong grassroots support. There were also seats that had incumbents who were young and hardworking," sources said.
They said it was ascertained that the chosen constituency must have voter representation which reflects that Anwar is accepted by the Malays as well as non-Malays.
"So, the ideal constituency for Anwar must have about 60 per cent Malay voters and 40 per cent non-Malay voters," said a source.
Selayang MP William Leong concurred that the constituency for Anwar to contest must be well mixed as he would be representing all races as the nation's incoming prime minister.
"This is also important to us as PKR is a multiracial party and we want to break the practice where a Malay contests in a Malay majority seat, a Chinese in a Chinese majority seat and an Indian in an Indian majority seat," said Leong, who was the first to offer his seat to Anwar.
After much deliberation, the party finally shortlisted the Sungai Petani, Alor Setar and Port Dickson parliamentary seats for Anwar to choose.
It is said that Anwar will be contesting in Port Dickson, with its incumbent MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah expected to quit to make way for a by-election.
Former naval officer Danyal is new to Port Dickson and has no grassroots support in his constituency or as a PKR elected representative.
When contacted on Monday, Danyal said although he had been supporting PKR since 2008, it was only recently that he officially became a member, meaning that he is fairly unknown within the PKR fold.
He had said that contesting in Port Dickson had also been an 11th hour decision.
"I was actually asked to contest in Tambun (Perak) at first," said Danyal, 68, who is also a former vice-president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
He was roped in to contest in Port Dickson 24 hours before nomination day to replace fellow PKR member Rosman Jonet, who was penalised by the Election Commission for not submitting a report on his spending when he contested the Linggi state seat in 2013.
When contacted, Alor Setar MP Chan Ming Kai said various factors had to be taken into consideration before deciding where Anwar should contest.
"It must first be ensured that the outcome and voter turnout will be good because this will directly impact the morale of PKR members," said Chan.
He said the seat must also be fairly mixed because Anwar is a leader for all races.
"The voter turnout must also be better than the recent turnout in the Selangor by-elections," said Chan, adding that Negeri Sembilan had the potential to become a PKR stronghold like Selangor.
Universiti Sains Malaysia political analyst Sivamurugan Pandian agreed, saying that the seat for Anwar to contest as prime minister-designate should represent the national ethnic demography.
"Port Dickson seems to have the right racial composition, but the party must explain why the constituency was selected when making the announcement," said Dr Sivamurugan.