Wan Azizah: Younger face may replace Anwar in Penang fort

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(MM) – PKR is likely to field a younger person in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Permatang Pauh federal seat should the opposition leader become disqualified because of his conviction for sodomy, its party president said.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Anwar’s wife, said the party is keeping their “options open”, and would decide if and when such a situation occurs.

“We have groomed many younger people; now we can give them a chance to contest,” she told The Malay Mail Online in an interview at PKR’s Kajang by-election operation centre yesterday.

She was asked on whether she would contest the Permatang Pauh seat should it be vacated in the next few months.

Dr Wan Azizah has held the Permatang Pauh federal seat several times; in 1999, 2004 and March 8, 2008 before vacating it to allow her husband to contest the seat in a by-election.

The grandmother who had previously looked forward to retiring from politics was announced as Anwar’s replacement in the Kajang by-election, following the Court of Appeal’s decision to overturn the PKR de facto leader’s sodomy acquittal last Friday.

The Court of Appeal had last week sentenced Anwar to five years in jail for sodomy.

The 66-year-old opposition leader has filed an appeal with the Federal Court to challenge the latest ruling, claiming the charge and the decision were fixed to keep him out of Kajang, a suburban Selangor seat that was to be the launchpad for his control of Malaysia’s richest state.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister during the Mahathir administration, had previously been convicted of sodomy and corruption charges in 1999, following his sacking from the Cabinet the year before.

The sodomy conviction was later overturned in 2004.