KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will face PAS in the Port Dickson by-election, party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang announced tonight.
He said the decision was made during a PAS central committee meeting in Kuala Terengganu tonight, Malaysiakini reported.
With Barisan Nasional officially announcing on Monday that they would be “boycotting” the by-election over the circumstances it is being held, this would make PAS the only serious alternative for voters in the popular resort town.
The parliamentary seat was vacated by PKR’s Danyal Rajagopal Abdullah on September 12, just four months after he won the seat in Gthe 14th general election held on May 9.
He won the seat with a majority of 17,710 votes, defeating BN’s Datuk V.S. Mogan, who is from MIC, and Mahfuz Roslan, from PAS.
The Election Commission has set nominations for September 28 and polling for October 13.
First MIC, then Umno decline to face Anwar
MIC was the first to announce it would not be putting up a candidate under the BN ticket. It was expected that Umno would put their candidate instead, until the announcement yesterday by BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Interestingly, prior to the late decision made by PAS, the party in general was not interested in contesting the seat.
PAS’ non-Muslim friend in two minds
Instead, it is believed that PAS had a “friend” who was going to stand in the PD by-election to try and win the Indian votes.
The voter demographic for PD comprises 43% Malays, 33% Chinese, 21% Indians and 3% others.
Former MIC vice-president Kumar Silambaram had announced he would contest the seat, but surprisingly pulled out of the race yesterday.
Kumar had successfully applied to be part of the PAS-led Gagasan Sejahtera coalition in March this year, as announced by PAS President Datuk Seri Hadi Awang on his Facebook page.
Now with PAS candidacy confirmed, it is not surprising that Kumar back-off from the PD by-election.
Splitting non-Malay votes
However, some observers had suggested that Kumar would have been an ideal candidate as he could have split the non-Malay votes. But now that he won’t, the main beneficiary will likely be Anwar.
There are other candidates who have announced will be standing in Port Dickson, are Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM) and an independent, Stevie Chan.
Stevie Chan Keng Long had dropped his hat in the ring to stop “the arrogance of one man who had forced this by-election to happen”, he had been quoted as saying.
He stands an outside chance with the sentiment among many PH supporters that Anwar was wrong to “work” his way back into Parliament so soon, and in this manner.
Still, facing two pro-Islamic agenda candidates from established parties, Chan knows he has a major uphill battle.