> Stories by SIRA HABIBU, MAZWIN NIK ANIS, MARTIN CARVALHO, WANI MUTHIAH, A. RUBAN, BEH YUEN HUI, RAHIMY RAHIM, LEE YEN MUN, ISABELLE LAI, NEVILLE SPYKERMAN, OH CHIN ENG, RASHVINJEET S . BEDI, MICHELLE TAM, T. AVINESHWARAN, JEANNETTE GOON and CHOO WOON LIM
PETALING JAYA: PKR has named its adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as its candidate for the Kajang by-election, which has to be called following the resignation of its representative Lee Chin Cheh.
The announcement on Anwar’s candidacy at the party’s headquarters yesterday was made by Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who down-played speculation that this would pave the way for the Opposition Leader to take over the Selangor Mentri Besar’s post.
Khalid said he supported the decision after getting a consensus from other Pakatan Rakyat component parties.
“If I did not agree, I would not be here.
“The issue does not arise (the Mentri Besar’s post). This is one way for us to boost our performance and we are focused to win the state seat,” he told a joint news conference with Anwar after the announcement.
Winning a state seat will enable Anwar to join the Selangor Legislative Assembly and take over the top job.
Below are the transcript of some of the questions posed to Anwar and his answers at the press conference.
Q: Why are you contesting the state seat?
Anwar: There is a consensus within PKR and we also have conveyed this to PAS and DAP to nominate me. And I do not have a choice but to contest.
Q: Why did they nominate you?
Anwar: It is to make sure that Pakatan Rakyat will further enhance its performance in the state, which had been commendable compared to the past and other states, but we thought it should be a major stage for Pakatan to move forward to Putrajaya.
Q: There have been speculation that you wanted to contest the state seat to take over Tan Sri Khalid’s job?
Anwar: It is mere speculation and we are focused to win the state seat. We hope that the seat will remain under Pakatan.
Q: How could you address the concern by voters that the by-election is unnecessary and a waste of public funds?
Anwar: Of course we have to explain to voters with the help of Tan Sri Khalid as an MP and the state chief (Azmin Ali), with me and the others from DAP and PAS. It is their right to know why we want to hold the by-election and continue to move on.
Q: What is the reason behind Lee Chin Cheh’s resignation?
Anwar: The former YB, he wanted to give some space to the leadership to move forward and to improve Selangor’s performance although our performance is already good.
Q: Do you think that it will be a waste of public expenditure to carry out a by-election as the assemblyman is still alive and healthy?
Anwar: If Barisan thinks it is a waste of public expenditure, we suggest that they do not contest.
When asked the reason how he would balance his job as Opposition Leader and a potential Kajang state assemblyman, the Permatang Pauh MP said it was too premature to discuss the matter.
Also present at the press conference were, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, DAP central committee member Liew Chin Tong and PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.
Azmin, who is also party deputy president, said he supported Anwar’s candidacy.
“Please do not speculate. I am only a small man in the party. I will have a meeting before making any further statement,” he said.
Salahuddin said PAS would extend full support to the candidate decided upon to ensure victory of the Pakatan Rakyat in the by-election.
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