5 April 2013

Ahmad Zahid To Face Anwar In Bagan Datoh?

Posted by bong dom On Jumaat, April 05, 2013 | No comments
PETALING JAYA: PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who has been linked to a move to Perak, is likely to take on Umno vice-president Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for the Bagan Datoh parliamentary seat in the upcoming general election.
Speculation has been rife ever since Anwar announced that he will not contest in his home seat of Permatang Pauh but instead was eyeing Perak in order to give a boost to the state PKR machinery.
Last night in Gerik, Anwar announced candidates for five parliamentary seats – Bagan Serai, Padang Rangas, Gopeng, Pasir Salak, Lumut – out of the nine seats PKR will be contesting in Perak, which narrows down the seats that he can choose to four – Tambun, Tapah, Bagan Datoh and Tanjong Malim.

It is believed that Anwar will choose a parliamentary seat with a majority of more than 50% Malay voters, so affirm his standing among the Malay community.

According to the electoral roll up to the fourth quarter of 2012, among the four seats, only Bagan Datoh (57%), Tambun (64.1%) and Tanjong Malim (51%) fit the bill.

Fz.com understands that PKR will field a senior leader to contest the Tanjong Malim seat, which further narrows down Anwar’s choice to Bagan Datoh and Tambun, whose incumbents are Ahmad Zahid and Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah respectively.

Rumours on the ground are that Ahmad Husni will contest a state seat and he is being touted as a potential Mentri Besar candidate should BN win Perak in this election. However, there is also speculation that BN chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak still needs him at the federal level if BN wins.

As a national leader who has been lauded as a prime minister in waiting, Anwar is expected to take on a Umno heavyweight in the state, in a battle for the hearts and minds of the voters not only in the state, but also the nation.

If Anwar were to take on Ahmad Zahid, it will strike right at the heart of the Umno stronghold, and its voter base of rural Malays.

Ahmad Zahid is the four term incumbent, but his winning margin dropped drastically in the last election, from 58.16% to 11.44% in 2008.

Interestingly, during Anwar’s time in the government, Ahmad Zahid was a strong ally and was even arrested and detained under Internal Security Act following the former’s sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.  Ahmad Zahid went back to Umno in 1999.

Ahmad Zahid was quoted by the media as saying “we will make sure Anwar is defeated” yesterday.

However, for Anwar, nothing is yet confirmed as he has refused to give a straight answer on the matter. In his talk last night at Gerik, Anwar said that he needed to go back to Permatang Pauh and discuss things over with his supporters, and urged the people to give him 24 hours to make a final decision.

However, if Anwar ultimately decides not to go to Perak, it will be a tough pill for the state PKR and for the Pakatan Rakyat as a whole in its efforts to win back the state. It will also offer BN more ammunition to attack both Anwar and the opposition coalition.

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