Mon, Oct 15, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim wins by-election


The Pakatan Harapan coalition’s Anwar Ibrahim waves after winning a by-election in Port Dickson, Malaysia, on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim on Saturday won a by-election engineered for his return to parliament by an overwhelming majority, bringing him closer to the post of prime minister that has been promised to him by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

The victory marks Anwar’s official return to political life just five months after he was freed from jail and will also be the first time that both he and Mahathir are members of parliament under the same banner after a bitter feud lasting more than 20 years.

Anwar, who has been the face of Malaysia’s Reformasi, or reform, movement over the past 20 years, won the seat by a majority of more than 23,500 votes, despite a low voter turnout on polling day in the coastal parliamentary seat of Port Dickson.

“Reform doesn’t end in one month, or four months, or a year. Reform means cleaning up and freeing the media, removing corruption, making ethical behavior a culture in politics,” he told supporters at a victory rally broadcast live on social media.

“I would like to tell all of you who voted and our friends from all over the country... I will not waste this trust given to me,” he said.

In May, Mahathir, 93, led the Pakatan Harapan, or Alliance of Hope, coalition to victory in a general election, unseating then-Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak and ending the 61-year rule of the Barisan Nasional coalition.

Anwar could not contest, as he was in jail on a 2015 sodomy conviction, but his renewed partnership with Mahathir was key to the election win, after which Mahathir secured a royal pardon for Anwar.

The pair have had an acrimonious relationship over two decades sparked when Mahathir, during his previous tenure as prime minister, sacked Anwar as his deputy in 1998. A year later, Anwar was convicted of corruption and sodomy.

Anwar and his supporters maintain that the charges were trumped up to end his political career.

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