Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Umno Vs. Anwar Ibrahim

Pematang Pauh (P44)

Permatang Pauh, in Penang, the sole seat and bastion of Keadilan is currently represented by Anwar Ibrahim's wife and current official president of Keadilan, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. This parliamentary seat has 58,449 voters comprising 62.4 per cent Malays, 24.8 per cent Chinese 6.3 per cent Indians and 0.4 per cent others.

Permatang Pauh was formerly the seat held by Anwar Ibrahim prior to him being sentenced in a highly controversial trial to six years in prison for corruption in 1999, thus barring him from contesting in an election and holding public office until April 2008.

In the 1999 General Election, Dr Wan Azizah led Keadilan to win five seats in the Parliament and was herself elected as the MP for Permatang Pauh with a majority of 9,077 votes.
In the 2004 General Election, however, Keadilan only managed to retain one parliamentary seat - Permatang Pauh. Dr Wan Azizah managed to retain this seat defeating , former National Mosque imam, with a very slim majority of 590 votes.

For this election, as Anwar Ibrahim is still barred from contesting in an election and holding public office until April 2008, Dr Wan Azizah will defend this seat against Pirdaus Ismail of Umno, yet again. There is talk that should Dr Wan Azizah win the seat again, she will vacate her seat to give way to Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by-election, thus opening the way for his political comeback.

The contest of this seat is symbolic as it is seen as a test of strength between Umno and Anwar Ibrahim, and also signifies the survival of Keadilan.

This time round, with potentially the Chinese, Indians and sympathetic Malays voting Keadilan's way, Dr Wan Azizah has a very good chance of retaining this seat with a much larger majority. How large a majority will determine if Dr Wan Azizah will risk vacating the seat for Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by election.

Prediction - Dr Wan Azizah wins with a larger majority than in 2004 but not large enough for her to risk vacating the seat for Anwar Ibrahim.

Please post your comments. What do you think ?


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