|July 31, 2008|
|Anwar Ibrahim announced today that he will contest a by-election for the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat which will be vacated by his wife and PKR leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Wan Azizah told a packed press conference this afternoon that she will be resigning as member of parliament for the seat but will retain her post as PKR president.
“I have submitted my resignation letter to the House speaker today,” she said.
Wan Azizah said the people in Permatang Pauh have a special affinity for Anwar, who was their elected representative prior to his sacking as deputy premier and arrest a decade ago.
Meanwhile, Anwar said that other party leaders offered their seats to him but he preferred Permatang Pauh.
Among those who offered their seats, he said, were Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim (Bandar Tun Razak) and party vice- president Azmin Ali (Gombak).
“After discussing with party leaders, I have decided to go for Permatang Pauh,” he added.
Anwar said he has relayed his decision to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang who has given his full support.
The opposition stalwart – who is seeking to make a parliamentary comeback after a 10-year absence – has been shopping for a seat to contest after the expiry of a five-year ban from active politics.
The Election Commission will be required to call a by-election within 60 days.
Permatang Pauh was held by Anwar for 17 years since he joined Umno in 1982.
Wan Azizah took over as MP for the seat after her husband was sacked and subsequently jailed on charges of corruption and sodomy.
In the 2008 general election, she won the seat for a third term with a majority of 13,388 after defeating Umno’s Pirdaus Ismail.
Anwar had earlier said that he would contest in the Kulim-Bandar Baharu seat if a court orders a by-election.
The High Court is to hear a challenge on Aug 19 asking it to invalidate the result in the seat that was won by PKR in the March 8 polls.
However, uncertainty over possible delays in the court decision was a key factor in Anwar opting for Permatang Pauh instead.
In an immediate reaction, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking at a different press conference, said: “A loving wife would no nothing better”.
[More to follow]