Wan Azizah can be more than just a ‘torchbearer’ for Anwar

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Alyaa Alhadjri, The Ant Daily

QUICK TAKE: PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is not doing her party any favours by once again volunteering to be the “torchbearer candidate” for Permatang Pauh, after her husband Anwar Ibrahim lost his eligibility as a parliamentarian following rejection of his application for a royal pardon.

Wan Azizah had on April 2 reportedly said that she would consider contesting the seat she held from 1999 to 2008, if nominated by the party.

Online portal The Malaysian Insider quoted Wan Azizah as saying: “I know them (the voters) and been there for a long time. I feel comfortable there and they know me, I hope to be able to provide my services.”

Wan Azizah, the Kajang assemblywoman, was also quoted as saying that PKR had prepared for the by-election since the time Anwar was sent to jail on Feb 10.

“At the grassroots level, Anwar is still regarded as the Permatang Pauh MP. His supporters have started work to prepare for the by-election,” she reportedly said.

Judging by public responses to various published reports quoting her decision, it is quite clear that even Pakatan Rakyat supporters are questioning whether there are no other viable candidate from PKR for the seat – even if it means fielding her daughter Nurul Nuha – as originally speculated.

PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, however, said that Wan Azizah remains the party’s “most qualified” candidate even though its top leaders have yet to meet and discuss other possible options.

Rafizi told reporters that PKR’s meeting on April 3 had only discussed early preparations for the by-election and not to finalise the party’s candidate.

Anwar’s disqualification as MP also means that Pakatan will now have to decide on his replacement as Opposition Leader in Parliament, a decision that could hinge on the outcome of the by-election.

Observers noted that cooperation between Pakatan parties may be at its weakest point in the pact’s six-year history with PAS and DAP threatening to sever ties over the hudud issue.

Barisan Nasional, Umno in particular, however, is also facing its own internal struggles which could affect its chances of exploiting Pakatan’s weaknesses.

Malay-daily Utusan Malaysia Penang bureau chief Mohd Khuzairi Ismail in an editorial on April 3 said that Umno should field someone free from controversy, with integrity and a “clean image” or consider skipping the by-election altogether, like it did for the Chempaka by-election in Kelantan.

Read more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Wan-Azizah-can-be-more-than-just-a-torchbearer-for-Anwar