Anwar to contest Selangor seat in by-election
OPPOSITION leader Anwar Ibrahim will contest a Selangor state seat in an upcoming by-election triggered by the surprise resignation of a state assemblyman.
During a press conference at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters yesterday, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim announced Datuk Seri Anwar's candidacy for the Kajang state seat.
The N25 Kajang seat had fallen vacant following the sudden resignation of Kajang assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh on Monday.
The development heightens speculation that Mr Anwar, who is a Member of Parliament in Permatang Pauh, Penang, is tipped to take over as chief minister in Selangor.
Analysts said the party's move to field Mr Anwar in the Kajang seat appears to be a compromise, amid speculation of increasing in-fighting between Tan Sri Khalid and Mr Azmin Ali, Mr Anwar's long-time ally.
"It's pure speculation," Mr Anwar told local reporters at a packed press conference.
"Mr Khalid will continue with his work while we focus on winning the by-election."
Asked if he agreed to Mr Anwar running in the by-election, Mr Khalid said: "If I did not agree, I would not be here."
Winning a state seat will enable Mr Anwar to join the Selangor Legislative Assembly and take over the top job.
Asked how his candidacy for the Kajang state seat was decided upon, he said it was based on a consensus within PKR, and agreed to by the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and the Party Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).
"They nominated me to enhance Selangor's performance, which was already very good. It is a good place to move PKR forward to Putrajaya," he added.
He added that it was "too premature" to discuss how he would balance his roles as opposition leader, Permatang Pauh MP and potential assemblyman for the Kajang state seat.
Also present at the press conference was DAP adviser and Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, as well as PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub.
THE STRAITS TIMES, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK