Saturday, August 16, 2008

P44 Permatang Pauh - Nomination Day

Permatang Pauh: It's a three-way fight

BUKIT MERTAJAM: The Permatang Pauh by-election campaign kicked off in earnest with four candidates submitting their papers at the nomination centre here on Saturday morning, although one later pulled out.

At 11.45am, returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced there were three candidates contesting the seat: PKR adviser and de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Seberang Jaya MP Datuk Shah Omar Shah and Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) president Hanafi Hamat.

An independent candidate Dr Mansor Othman, former Penang PKR leader, had also submitted his nomination but later withdrew, losing his RM15,000 deposit in the process.

Anwar Ibrahim submitted his form at about 9.15am, while Arif Shah submitted his about 15 minutes earlier.

Dr Mansor said his nomination was a strategic move by Pakatan in the event Anwar had been disqualified.

Arif Shah, who arrived at the nomination centre at 8.42am, was accompanied by Barisan Nasional leaders Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Umno Youth chief Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, MCA vice-president Datuk Ong Tee Keat, Wanita MCA chief Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and others.

Also accompanying him were Gerakan acting president Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, who is also Penang BN chairman, Wanita Umno vice-head Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and Umno information head Tan Sri Muhammad Muhamad Taib.

Anwar was accompanied by his wife, PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, and three of their children.

Also with him were Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, PAS vice-president Husam Musa, DAP chairman Karpal Singh and other party leaders.

PAS spiritual leader Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, who is reportedly unwell, was also on hand to lend his moral support.

Akim is a PAS splinter party set up in 1995 that claims to have about 10,000 members nationwide. It contested and lost in the Pasir Puteh and Kota Baharu parliamentary constituencies in the 1999 general election.

Over 10,000 Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat supporters accompanied their candidates to the nomination centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teaching Institute in Mengkuang here.

Supporters carrying flags and banners started converging on the place as early as 6am and were allowed into the field near Dewan Aminuddin Baki, the venue for submission of nominations, at 8.15am.

Pakatan supporters were the first to be allowed in, according to Bernama. They assembled in an area reserved for them, shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) and "hidup Anwar" (long live Anwar) and waving banners and symbols of their respective parties.

BN supporters were allowed in at 8.30am together with Arif Shah.

Over 40 policemen in riot gear kept watch over them.

While their candidates filed their nomination papers, Barisan supporters sang patriotic songs while Pakatan's side sang “Allah Selamatkan Anwar, Allah Selamatkan Rakyat Malaysia” (God save Anwar, God save the people of Malaysia) to the Happy Birthday tune. Things got even merrier with Pakatan's lion and Bangra dances.

Many supporters however began to disperse at about 12.30pm when a heavy rainstorm broke.

The Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat was made vacant on July 31 when Dr Wan Azizah resigned as Member of Parliament to make way for Anwar to contest.

Polling day is on Aug 26.


Huge support for Anwar's poll bid

Up to 30,000 people gathered to support Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's de facto opposition leader, as he launched his bid to return to parliament, in defiance of sodomy allegations made against him by a young male aide.

"I am touched by the support. This is an overwhelming support," Anwar said as he arrived at the nomination centre in the Permatang Pauh constituency on Saturday.

Supporters shouted Anwar's battle cry of "Reformasi" or "Reform", and waved party flags, facing off against 5,000 government supporters, trading taunts and insults.

Anwar said at a rally on Friday night that the sodomy allegations were part of a government conspiracy to prevent him from ousting the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition, after March elections handed the opposition alliance a third of parliamentary seats.

"They are afraid of me being an MP and going on to become the opposition leader in parliament," he said.

He was formally charged earlier this month, just after his wife vacated the Permatang Pauh constituency - which she has held since he went to jail - to allow him to return to parliament after a decade-long absence.

Anwar accuser

However, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, Anwar's accuser who is a 23-year-old former volunteer in the opposition leader's office, visited a mosque on Friday to swear he was telling the truth and challenged Anwar to do the same.

He also said that he was sodomised against his will, although when Anwar was formally accused in court the charge indicated the alleged sex act was consensual.

Anwar was sacked as deputy premier amid previous sodomy allegations [Reuters]

Anwar was deputy premier until he was sacked in 1998 and convicted on sodomy and corruption counts. The sodomy conviction was later overturned.

Sodomy is a serious offence in Malaysia, a conservative and predominantly Muslim nation, and carries a penalty of 20 years imprisonment.

Anwar, representing his Keadilan party, is running against Arif Shah Omar Shah, a veteran member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which leads the the ruling National Front coalition, in the August 26 poll.

"I have known the people here and they know what to expect from me if I am elected. I am after all a two-term assemblyman and I have been doing my work since way back," Arif said.

"I know Anwar well. We have been friends and I look forward to taking him on."

In a racial breakdown that broadly mirrors the national population, more than two-thirds of voters in Permatang Pauh are Muslim Malays, alongside Chinese who make up 26 per cent and Indians at six per cent.



Zubli Zainordin said...

I can feel the heat!

I read postings at blogs, and found these:

P 44 Permatang Pauh Parliamentary

* By-election,
* Bye-election, and
* Buy-election.

Just to spice up the heat I sense...

Ilusi Dalang said...

This by-election will shaped our future. Never been so excited as this time.

Zubli Zainordin said...

Same here.

I am ready to see CHANGE since PRU 12.

Now is a good moment for this CHANGE.