Anwar’s majority beyond expectation: Analyst

PORT DICKSON: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was expected to win in the Port Dickson by-election but winning with a bigger majority was beyond expectation.

In fact the Pakatan Harapan (PH) camp represented by Anwar had since the beginning and even two or three days before polling day, feared that if the PKR president-elect did not win big, this would tarnish Anwar's image as a long time political leader in the country.

However, Anwar's 23,560-vote majority was greater than that of former incumbent Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah who won the seat by 17,710 votes thus brushing aside Pakatan Harapan's fears and proving political analysts wrong.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's presence in Port Dickson to campaign last Monday was also a factor to attract voters, more so the event saw Anwar and Mahathir being on the same stage after 20 years.

The victory clearly proved that he is not only popular in his home constituency of Permatang Pauh but is also well-accepted by the people in other states, especially in Port Dickson, a PKR stronghold since 2008.

Hence, Anwar has proven to the nation that he is still relevant and continues to gain the trust of the people after his imprisonment which had deprived him of his rights to represent the people in the Dewan Rakyat.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, a political analyst, believed with Anwar's return to the Dewan Rakyat, all the reform agenda mooted by him would be able to be implemented, in partnership with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Anwar's victory has been anticipated from the beginning and the issue of voting percentage is real. However, he needs to use the mandate given by the people of Port Dickson to pursue the reform agenda with Port Dickson serving as the platform to start the efforts.

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“The voters in Port Dickson gave him a comfortable majority, an indication that they have also accepted Anwar to be appointed as the eighth prime minister after Tun Dr Mahathir,” he told Bernama yesterday.

In the Port Dickson parliamentary by-election, Anwar, 71, defeated six others, namely PAS candidate Lt Col (Rtd) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, former Negri Sembilan menteri besar Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad Anwar's former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, social media personality Stevie Chan Keng Leong, management consultant Kan Chee Yuen and former private university lecturer Lau Seck Yan.

Sivamurugan also praised Anwar's boldness in choosing to contest outside a “comfort zone” and achieving a resounding victory to prove that he was still a “hit” with the people.

“This victory is very meaningful to Anwar, it ensures he can work together with Tun Dr Mahathir to rebuild the country for the “rakyat” (people),” he said.

Sivamurugan said this by-election was dominated by three names namely Anwar, Mohd Isa and Mohd Nazari whereas the other four independents (besides Mohd Isa) were mere “sideshows”.

The by-election was called following Danyal Balagopal vacating the seat on Sept 12 to pave the way for Anwar to make a comeback to Parliament. — Bernama

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