Permatang Pauh by-election: Brutal battle ahead

The Star Online, By BARADAN KUPPUSAMY

BY MOST accounts Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is set to win handsomely in Permatang Pauh but with the sodomy accusation hanging over him like a dagger and his failure to engineer a mass defection, his plans to topple the government and become prime minister remain a dream

Nevertheless at a prayer session in his house late Thursday night, Anwar kept that dream alive telling die-hard supporters, “victory in Permatang Pauh is assured, after that we march to Putrajaya.”

Faced with imminent arrest over sodomy charges and his fragile Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition showing cracks, Anwar pre-empted his political enemies with the stunning move, “asking” his wife and PKR President Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to vacate the Permatang Pauh seat for him to contest.

But with the situation as it is now, he will be fighting with his back to the wall, not only in the by-election but also to revive the momentum of his sterling March 8 comeback that is losing steam rapidly. When Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah made their announcement the only Pakatan Rakyat leader beside them was Cheras MP Tan Kok Wai who although a veteran DAP MP, is not a national leader like DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang or chairman Karpal Singh.

More significantly no PAS leaders were present especially when the entire PAS leadership was in the city the same day to discuss the future of the Umno-PAS “Malay unity” talks.

“Their absence is sickening,” said a senior PKR leader who requested anonymity. “What is the Pakatan without Anwar. Who brought them all the non-Muslim votes?”

With PAS and Umno in an “unholy embrace” the extent of PAS support for Anwar’s leadership of the opposition and his candidacy in the by-election, is being questioned. [more]

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