Anwar is contesting?

MALAYSIA - A number of Malaysian opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders claimed to be in the dark over Mr Anwar Ibrahim's move to contest the Kajang by-election in Selangor, even as other leaders supported his decision.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general and Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng said that since he was not informed about what was going on, it was better for the media to direct its questions at Mr Anwar, the leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, which leads the coalition.

"What I feel about the whole issue is not important as at the moment I just want to ensure the public safety in Penang following the arson attack," he said, referring to the Molotov cocktail attacks in a church.

The by-election came about after the resignation of assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh on Monday.

It has led to speculation that Mr Anwar is contesting the by-election to take over as Mentri Besar, or chief minister, of Selangor. It is now ruled by PR.

Mr Abdul Khalid Ibrahim is the current chief minister. The Star reported that he is expected to resign soon.

Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) central working committee member Nasruddin Hassan Tantawi also seemed surprised that there was a by-election planned even though there was no death or illness. He said the decision was made in bad taste as there was no consultation between the parties in PR.

He said in a Facebook post: "It seems that anyone can step down from their post so that a by-election can be called to give way to another person. It's as if they are just playing around."

Second forced poll

This is the second forced by-election involving Mr Anwar. In 2008, his wife and party president, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, had resigned as MP to enable her husband to return as an MP.

Twitter was abuzz after Mr Anwar announced his candidature, liberal news portal Malaysiakini reported.

Umno Youth head Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted: "Might as well crown yourself Sultan of Melaka while you're at it."

Netizens were not impressed either.

Asked @harvinthskin: "Anwar, are you a (ruling coalition) Barisan Nasional politician in disguise?"

Lord Sdq of Killowen said: "I thought Anwar said he wanted to retire after GE13?!"

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