Anwar Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR, which forms part of the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan) was sworn in on Monday as Member of Parliament after securing his seat in the Port Dickson by-elections in Negeri Sembilan with 31,016 votes, eclipsing the runner up from the Islamic party PAS, Mohd Nazri Mokhtar who secured 7,456 votes.
The other candidates in the Malaysian by-elections conceded defeat and congratulated Anwar for his win. Lau Seck Yan, an independent, said "the losers (only in by election) are actually gainers in various ways, life experience, friendship, comradeship,” a sentiment that is apparently shared across the board by the other candidates.
Another independent candidate Stevie Chan also congratulated Anwar but maintained that Anwar’s move to ask the sitting parliamentarian to stand down so that he can run is still ‘unethical, unnecessary, and untimely’. The common belief is that Anwar wanted to ensure a win which is why he chose to contest in Port Dickson, a stronghold, and not in any of the other already vacant seats.
Stevia Chan added, “I do believe that Datuk Seri Anwar will be an asset in our legislative body. I hope that he uphold the principles of the Harapan agenda, and safeguard our hope in Malaysia baru. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all candidates for a relatively peaceful campaign period.”
This by-election is a big deal in Malaysia as Anwar has been the incumbent to take over from Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad in about two years – at least that was the impression given to the public during Pakatan Harapan’s election campaign.
The current PM is 93 years old and his advancing age is a cause of concern for many. A clear successor needs to be ready to take over and other than Anwar Ibrahim, it seems Pakatan Harapan has no other person that will be able to hold together the fresh ruling coalition or the entire nation.
On a similar note, the PKR is also running a tumultuous in-house election right now to choose a new deputy president. The two front-runners are the Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali and current vice president of PKR Rafizi Ramli. The two politicians are neck-in-neck as they conduct the election process state by state. According to unofficial Malaysian Kini numbers, Azmin Ali is in the lead by about 1.3% as of 14th October.