Anwar to get reduced majority in Kajang?

Anwar Ibrahim

( – Sentiments among Pakatan Rakyat members over Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s performance in the upcoming Kajang by-election remain mixed, with some even hinting at a possible reduced majority.

While almost all PR members are confident of a victory, some fear that the presence of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, a former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, may just throw a spanner in the works.

The fear is that Zaid’s candidacy will eat into PR’s vote bank instead of Barisan Nasional’s.

This is because Zaid is seen as critical of the Government and more of an Opposition figure.

A Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader said the BN supporters would not support Zaid as the ruling coalition would most probably place a candidate acceptable to the locals.

“There will not be personality issues unlike Anwar, who is being relentlessly attacked.

“Some have even expressed fear that the MCA may be capable of ‘pinching’ a fair number of votes if they field the right candidate.

“There are those among us who feel that (former deputy minister Datin Paduka) Chew Mei Fun may be able to put a prominent dent in PKR’s majority,” said a PKR insider.

Though the MCA has yet to reveal its candidate, there have been strong rumours that Chew is the running favourite.

“We are also worried that the Chinese who make up about 41 per cent of the electorate in Kajang may just decide to ‘give the MCA a chance’.

“When Chew was a deputy minister, she was well liked and we are afraid that her presence may create some problems.”

It does not help Anwar that MCA is now highlighting his role in Operation Lalang in 1987.

MCA is now banking on the issue, saying that Anwar who was then the Education Minister, was the person responsible for the arrest of 106 people under the Internal Security Act.

Former MCA vice-president and Serdang MP Datuk Yap Pian Hon said that “Ops Lalang” came about when Anwar then refused to retract his Ministry’s earlier decision to appoint school administrators of SJK (C) who were not trained in Mandarin, despite nationwide protests by politicians, NGOs’, social-activists and academicians.

A leader from PKR told that when former Kajang state assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh resigned on Jan 27, there were worries that the electorate may be upset with PKR over the Anwar-Azmin issue and turn against the party.

“However, thanks to the long period between the resignation and the by-election, this issue is slowly dying off and people are once again warming up to Anwar,” he said.

According to DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke Siew Fook, Anwar has already spent two weeks with the people in Kajang, while the Barisan Nasional is yet to even decide on its candidate.

“As far as the DAP is concerned, we are confident PKR will re-clinch the seat … the long waiting period has given us a better chance,” he said.

Also, he said the ongoing parliament session at that time would augur well for PKR.

“During parliament sessions, numerous issues are raised by both the BN and PR. Whatever is said or raised in Parliament will surely be material for both parties’ campaigning in Kajang,” he said.

He said if there were any indications at all that the Kajang electorate may swing towards the BN, there would have been a big tussle for the seat between Umno and MCA.

“The people are still upset with MCA, especially now as they are tussling to regain their government positions.

“The only way PKR will get a reduced majority is if there is a poor turnout. Our only concern is the attitude of the voters.

“If the voters are fed-up, with either the BN or PR, then they may not turn out to vote … this may be a problem,” he added.