Dr M: Contesting a by-election is Anwar's right

  • Sep 14, 2018
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It is the right of the PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim to contest in a by-election, said the Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In a press conference at Bersatu headquarters in Petaling Jaya today, Mahathir said that Anwar had called him up from Hong Kong to notify him about the by-election.

"He rang me up from Hong Kong to tell that he has a by-election. It is his right. I don’t interfere in that area," Mahathir said.

When asked whether it is appropriate for having a seat vacated for Anwar, Mahathir evaded the question and replied: "We take note on the observations made by the people on the matter."

However, Mahathir said he will not campaign for Anwar in the by-election but he will endorse his candidacy.

"I told Anwar, normally I don’t campaign in by-elections. But I will endorse his candidacy," he said.

The Port Dickson parliamentary seat has been vacated to pave the way for a by-election to be contested by Anwar.

On Wednesday, incumbent MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah announced his intention to vacate the seat at a press conference in Petaling Jaya, saying that he was doing so to effect a smooth transition between the seventh prime minister and Anwar as the eighth prime minister.

Danyal said he would still serve the constituency as Anwar's "eyes and ears".

Later in a Skype interview with Astro Awani, Anwar said he was impressed with Danyal's personality and the latter's statement about working together as a team.

"Although he is not nationally prominent, despite being a former senior naval officer, his willingness to assist me was impressive.

"The choice (of seats) given to me were one in the north (of the peninsula), one in the central region and one in the south. Danyal impressed me with his personality as he did not talk about stepping down, but about working together as a team."

Anwar said that if elected, he will boost Port Dickson's status as a prime tourist destination.

Port Dickson voters comprise 55 percent non-Malays (33 percent Chinese, 22 percent Indians) and 43 percent Malays.

In the 14th general election, Danyal defeated V Mogan of MIC and Mahfuz Roslan of PAS by a 17,710-vote margin.

Asked about the Bersatu Port Dickson division’s warning for PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and Kapar MP Abdullah Sani to not campaign in the area, Mahathir said it's the division's members’ right to voice their opinion.

Division coordinator Ramli Awang said that while Anwar is welcomed to contest in Port Dickson, Rafizi and Abdullah are not welcomed as they have been vocal in accusing Mahathir and his confidante Daim Zainuddin of planning to topple Anwar.

"That is the division's opinion. Members sometimes don't follow the rule … (but) they have the right to state their stance," Mahathir said.