Not biting off more than I can chew, Anwar insists


(MM) – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is confident he can juggle the duties of opposition leader, federal lawmaker and state assemblyman should he win the Kajang by-election.

In an interview with The Malay Mail Online, Anwar said he knew well the issues affecting Kajang voters and could use his position and clout as opposition leader and MP for Permatang Pauh to address the Selangor constituency’s woes.

“I don’t think it will be a problem,” he said, when asked whether handling all the responsibilities would limit his ability to perform as Kajang state assemblyman.

“The question is how you manage your time, as well as how you can delegate your duties,” Anwar explained.

He pointed out that Datuk Seri Najib Razak was also required to wear many hats — that of prime minister, finance minister, Umno president and MP for Pekan, among others — all without any hiccup.

“It is about how you can serve effectively.

“I go back to Permatang Pauh at least once a fortnight. I can reach Kajang in half an hour from Kuala Lumpur if there is no traffic,” he said.

When asked what issues were affecting Kajang residents, Anwar said the concerns ranged from the rising cost of living to “infrastructure” issues.

“There is new development, but it still lagging behind,” said the PKR de facto leader, without further elaboration.

The former deputy prime minister previously said his victory in the Kajang poll would allow him to enter the Selangor state government to “enhance the existing role of the state.”

Anwar’s remarks appear in line with speculation that he may take over from Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor mentri besar in he win the Kajang by-election as planned.

In a surprise move last week, PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh resigned as Kajang assemblyman, making way for Anwar to contest the resulting by-election.

The move immediately fuelled rumours that Khalid will be removed from his post, rumours which the state government and Anwar had until recently denied as mere “speculation”.

While popular with the general public, Khalid’s penchant for unilateral decision-making in administering the country’s wealthiest state is understood to be a source of dissatisfaction among Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders in the state.

The Khalid administration’s handling of the “Allah” row in the state, which saw Selangor Islamic authorities raid and seize bibles from the Bible Society of Malaysia, is also said to be a source of discontent within the pact.

PR currently holds 44 of the 56 seats in the Selangor state assembly. PAS and DAP have15 seats each, while PKR has 13 after Lee’s resignation.

The Election Commission (EC) has set March 23 as the date for the Kajang by-election, with nomination to take place on March 11.