Monday, July 28, 2008

Anwar goes for Kulim Bandar Baharu
By Adib Zalkapli

KULIM, July 28 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is set to contest in the Kulim Bandar Baharu parliamentary by-election if an election court next month calls for one.

He has set his eyes on the Kulim Bandar Baharu seat, which is the subject of an election petition to be heard at the Alor Star High Court on Aug 19. The petition was made by Umno-Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Abdul Aziz Sheikh Fadzir against winner Parti Keadilan Rakyat's Zulkifli Noordin.

The PKR de facto leader said he had consulted other Pakatan Rakyat leaders Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang and they had promised to give him full support.

"I had my doubts about an hour ago but now, God willing, yes (I will contest here)," Anwar declared at about 11pm last night to a cheering multiracial crowd of thousands packing the Chinese Recreational Club here.
The night before in Kuala Lumpur, Anwar had said he was deciding between Kulim Bandar Baharu and Bandar Tun Razak in his attempt to enter Parliament — one more step in his political comeback since being freed from jail in 2004 on corruption and sodomy convictions.

The Kulim Bandar Baharu parliamentary seat was won by Zulkifli with a majority of 5,583 votes when he garnered 22,255 votes against Abdul Aziz's 16,672. For the March 8 general election, there were 51,444 voters registered in the constituency which also has two state assembly seats — Kulim and Bandar Baharu — both won by PKR and Pas, respectively.

Of the voters, 34,667 or 67.93 per cent were Malays, Chinese 10,868 (21.13 per cent), Indians 5,907 (11.48 per cent) and others 2. The number of postal voters was 1,640.

In his petition, Umno's Abdul Aziz is asking the court to declare the results for the constituency null and void. He claimed that the PKR MP had failed to submit his statement of expenditure when he contested the Kuala Langat parliamentary seat in the previous general election in 2004.

The Election Act stipulates that candidates who fail to submit their statement of expenditure can be disqualified from contesting future elections.

Anwar told his supporters here that Zulkifli was the first PKR MP who had offered to make way for him to ensure his return to Parliament.

"He is an example of a young man who understands the meaning of struggle and is willing to sacrifice for it," he added.

After his release, the former deputy prime minister was barred by law from active politics for five years, which ended in late April.

Anwar claimed the date for the last general election was intentionally set on March 8 to prevent him from contesting.

"But now my return to Parliament will pave the way for BN MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat," he said.

He added his plan to return to Parliament would be more than just a political struggle. "It is about the dignity of the people and the future of the country."

Prepared to face what he claimed to be character assassination by his opponents, Anwar promised that he would not to resort to the same tactics.

He also expects the BN to use government machinery to defeat him in the by-election.

"I expect hundreds of millions of ringgit would be spent. But don't be fooled by election goodies. If they give money, just take it but vote for Pakatan Rakyat."

Anwar also promised to promote programmes based on open market economics.

"I promise that the economy will be better. And we will transform Malaysia into a new economic giant."

The Kulim ceramah is part of his roadshow since a male aide reported him for sodomy in late June, mirroring similar charges a decade ago that led to his sacking as deputy prime minister and finance minister.

Anwar has denied the accusations and has sued his accuser, 23-year-old Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, for defamation and also slander in the Shariah court.


*Kita tgk kalau jadi Anwar bertanding kat Kulim, berapa juta pulak BN nak tabur duit kat situ dgn apa pulak kes baru yg tetiba kena kat Anwar. Mesti kaw-kaw punya UMNO tabur duit masa by-election tu.

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