KAJANG: PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) has been chosen to replace Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the party’s candidate in the March 23, Kajang by-election.
In a press conference at PKR’s operations centre on Sunday, Anwar, who is also Wan Azizah’s husband, said the decision was made after consulting Pakatan Rakyat’s top leadership.
“After achieving consensus with the other component members, we have agreed to nominate Wan Azizah as the new candidate,” said Anwar.
Anwar’s disqualification from contesting the seat was inevitable after the Court of Appeal, last Friday overturned his High Court acquittal and sentenced Anwar to five years jail for sodomising his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.
The Selangor Constitution states that a person cannot run for the state assembly immediately upon conviction of an offence and if he is sentenced to a year’s jail or more, or to a fine of not less than RM2,000 and has not received a pardon.
The Kajang seat was vacated by PKR’s Lee Chin Cheh on Jan 27, paving the way for the by-election, an attempt to allegedly install Anwar as the next Selangor mentri besar.
Wan Azizah, who was present at the press conference, said that she accepted the nomination.
“I would like to invite all Malaysians to give a clear message to the government that we cannot be oppressed by injustice, no matter what,” she said.
She was also unfazed when it was suggested that her candidacy was an attempt to warm the seat for her husband, like when she contested the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat.
“They can say what they like but what is more important is that my name was brought up. I think I represent the party, especially the women,” she said.
Wan Azizah was among the names shortlisted by the party to replace Anwar in the by-election. Other names considered were PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and PKR chief strategist Rafizi Ramli.
“Datuk Saifuddin’s name was suggested, I was keen to have (him). He was reluctant. He said he wanted to focus on his position as secretary-general.
“In light of the circumtances and in light of the venue in Kajang, Azizah was the candidate. It’s a very firm decision,” Anwar said.
Also present at the press conference were DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and PAS’ election director Dr Hatta Ramli.
“We fully support Wan Azizah as the candidate. We feel she is the most suitable candidate for Kajang as we want a resounding and historical victory for us,” said Lim.Hatta said PAS had agreed to the decision and said they would make all efforts to ensure a PKR win in the by-election.
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