An­war wins by-election, steps closer to premier­ship

An­war, who has been the face of Malaysia’s Re­for­masi or Re­form move­ment over the past twenty years, won the seat by a ma­jor­ity of over 23,500 votes de­spite a low voter turnout

Times of Oman - - WORLD -

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s An­war Ibrahim won a by-election en­gi­neered for his re­turn to par­lia­ment by an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity on Satur­day, bring­ing him closer to the premier­ship that has been promised to him by for­mer foe, 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 over 20 years.

An­war, who has been the face of Malaysia’s Re­for­masi or Re­form move­ment over the past twenty years, won the seat by a ma­jor­ity of over 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 be­hav­iour 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 to cheers from hun­dreds gath­ered.

In May, Ma­hathir, 93, led the Pakatan Hara­pan, or Al­liance of Hope, coali­tion to a spec­tac­u­lar vic­tory in a gen­eral election, un­seat­ing his for­mer pro­tege 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 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.

An­war and his sup­port­ers main­tain that all the charges were trumped up to end his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer. Ma­hathir, now in his sec­ond stint as prime min­is­ter, has since pub­licly de­clared that he will step down in two years and make way for An­war to be­come the coun­try’s eighth prime min­is­ter.

- Reuters/Lai Seng Sin

JU­BI­LANT: Malaysia’s politi­cian An­war Ibrahim cel­e­brates with his wife Wan Az­izah af­ter win­ning the by-election in Port Dickson, Malaysia Oc­to­ber 13, 2018.

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