Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Resounding win for Anwar with 15,671 majority - Star

Anwar is Permatang Pauh MP

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Aug 27, 2008

As expected Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim won the Permatang Pauh by-election, but what was impressive was the margin of victory.

The PKR leader was returned to Parliament with a majority of 15,671 votes, exceeding the 13,388-vote majority achieved by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March 8 general election.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim acknowledging the cheers from the large crowd at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College after the result of the by-election was announced. - Asri Abdul Ghani/The Star

Anwar garnered 31,195 votes to beat Barisan candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who garnered 15,524 votes, while low-key Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia candidate Hanafi Hamat lost his RM15,000 deposit after getting only 92 votes.

The closely watched by-election was called after Dr Wan Azizah resigned from her post as MP on July 31, barely five months after she had won the seat, to enable her husband to run for election.

Anwar held the seat for four terms before he was sacked from his Deputy Prime Minister's post in 1998 over corruption and sodomy charges.

Dr Wan Azizah, who had been known as a reluctant politician, won the seat for a third term in March.

A mammoth crowd comprising PKR leaders and supporters gathered early yesterday evening at the tallying centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teachers Training College in Bukit Mertajam to celebrate the party’s victory.

Supporters let off fireworks as returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced the results at about 10pm.

Voter turnout was relatively high, registering at about 80% of the total 58,459 eligible voters in the constituency.

Barisan was the underdog from the start in the hard-fought by-election that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak described as a titanic challenge.

Anwar’s convincing victory was reminiscent of his heyday, when he secured a stunning 23,515-vote majority in the 1995 general election by polling 27,945 votes, 76.7% of the total votes then.

The laid-back town of Permatang Pauh is where Anwar won four consecutive Parliament seats from 1982 to 1995, taking over the seat from what was initially a PAS stronghold.

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