Wan Azizah set to win Kajang seat

Wan Azizah set to win Kajang seat
PKR candidate Wan Azizah and BN candidate Chew Mei Fun after submitting their nomination forms on Tuesday.

DR WAN Azizah Wan Ismail is assured of victory in the Kajang by-election just as her husband Anwar Ibrahim's hopes of becoming the next Selangor Menteri Besar have been dashed after his sodomy conviction.

On Tuesday, Dr Wan Azizah, who is president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), filed her nomination papers for the Kajang state seat in a straight fight with Barisan Nasional's Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, a former deputy minister. Voting will take place on March 23 after a 12-day campaign.

The initial hype surrounding the Kajang by-election was over how it would parachute Anwar into Selangor. It would also pave the way for the opposition leader to take over as Menteri Besar, thereby ending a bitter dispute between two PKR heavyweights, Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.

That plan, dubbed the Kajang Move, was foiled last week when the Court of Appeal overturned the High Court's acquittal of Anwar in 2012 and sentenced him to five years' jail instead.

The jail sentence effectively blocked Anwar from contesting in Kajang. He is appealing against the conviction.

Analysts do not think the by-election will resolve the bad blood in the PKR camp, which arose over unhappiness with Tan Sri Khalid's lone-ranger administrative style.

Mr Khalid says he will remain Selangor chief minister.

"The party is not focused on the Menteri Besar issue anymore," he told The Straits Times on Tuesday. "As far as the party is concerned, I am still the Menteri Besar."

Dr Faisal Hazis, a political analyst at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, said that with Dr Wan Azizah in Kajang, Anwar may still be able to make a comeback in Selangor in the future.

There has already been a precedent. In 2008, Dr Wan Azizah stepped down from the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat in Penang that she had won in 1999. This allowed Anwar to regain the seat in a subsequent by-election.

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