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Anwar's many rivals in PD

  • PAS' participation in Port Dickson by-election spells an end to Umno's hope of a unity government with PH and PAS, as Ahmad Zahid has asserted. Photo courtesy: Bernama

Sin Chew Daily

PKR incoming president Anwar Ibrahim is facing a legion of rivals beyond our imagination in Port Dickson, making life a little difficult for him.

Little wonder he admitted he had a lot of enemies in addition to countless of supporters, and that these enemies were doing everything they could to stop him from returning to the Parliament, or hope he would win with a razor-thin majority that would see his credibility eroded.

These unexpected competitors have since sparked a plethora of speculations. For example, former Negeri Sembilan MB Mohd Isa Abdul Samad was close to Mahathir during BN's time. He was made Negeri Sembilan MB in 1982, a year after Mahathir took over as prime minister. He abandoned his state seat for parliament in 2004, a year after Mahathir stepped down.

Rumors had it that Mohd Isa was a candidate planted by Tun M, and would join PPBM if he made it in the election. Isa has since refuted the allegation.

Then for whom is Isa joining the PD race? If he does it for himself, his scandals are not going to be overwritten even if he gets elected. If he does not make it, he will only offend the PM-in-waiting and PKR.

Weirdly, PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin announced two days shy of the nomination to dissolve the Negeri Sembilan PPBM for restructuring by supreme council member Rais Yatim.

If the state PPBM is dissolved, how is the party going to campaign for Anwar? Why can't Muhyiddin wait until after the by-election?

As for Mohd Saiful, the guy in Anwar's sodomy case, what puts him in the race?

Keeping a very low profile ever since Anwar was put in jail, Saiful has slowly drifted out of public focus. Falling into the limelight again in PD is poised to enrage Anwar's supporters.

Again, he vanished from public vision soon after the nomination. No traces of his whereabouts, no campaign activities, as if his only motive of entering the fray is to reawaken memories of Anwar's sodomy case, as some have argued.

According to the sodomy case affidavit, Saiful met Najib and former PKR youth chairman Mohamad Ezam Mohd Noor after the case came into picture, showing that he indeed was well connected politically.

Why does Anwar have so many enemies? Given his position in politics, Anwar understandably invites the displeasure of many, including PAS president Hadi Awang.

He was the coordinator to bring DAP and PAS together to form Pakatan Rakyat, but Hadi simply was not going to accept Anwar as PR's candidate for premiership. The subsequent internal conflicts that built up eventually brought down the alliance.

Between Mahathir and Anwar, it appears that Hadi is more receptive to the former despite the harsh criticisms the new PM has lashed out at his party.

Hadi feels that Mahathir should continue to run this country until the end of his 5-year term, adding that he does not want to see someone with lust to rule.

This explains why Ahmad Zahid boycotts the by-election and has urged PAS to do the same. Hadi Awang nevertheless will not give heed, questioning Anwar instead why he has not chosen to contest in a Muslim-majority seat.

Staying away from the three earlier by-elections in Selangor, Hadi's decision to make a personal appearance in PD marks his intensified confrontation with Anwar.

Given the many rival contestants in Port Dickson, Anwar is not going to take things too lightly, and has shown up at more than ten campaign events within the first 36 hours.

Among his six rivals, only two are of any significant threat to him, namely Mohd Isa and PAS' Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, but they're focusing only on Malay areas.

Malay voters make up 43% of all voters in PD. Assuming Malay votes are equally distributed among PH, Umno and PAS, Anwar should be able to emerge victorious thanks to 33% of Chinese and 22% of Indian votes there. But to win it big, the turnout has to be at least 80%.

Besides picking a future PM for the country, the PD race also produces another important outcome: the complete severance between Anwar and Hadi and hence, an end to Umno's hope of a unity government with PH and PAS, as Ahmad Zahid has asserted.



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