Wife of jailed An­war to run for his seat

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

The wife of Malaysian op­po­si­tion leader An­war Ibrahim on Satur­day en­tered the race for the par­lia­men­tary seat va­cated by her hus­band’s re­cent jail­ing over a much-crit­i­cized sodomy con­vic­tion, a party of­fi­cial said.

Wan Az­izah Wan Is­mail, a Bri­tish Isles-trained med­i­cal doc­tor and mother of six, filed her nom­i­na­tion pa­pers for the by-elec­tion in An­war’s con­stituency in the north­ern state of Pe­nang, her party’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions direc­tor Fahmi Fadzil said.

It marks the sec­ond time Wan Az­izah, 62, has stepped in for her hus­band dur­ing one of his con­tro­ver­sial im­pris­on­ments.

She won An­war’s seat in 1999 af­ter he was sacked as deputy prime min­is­ter in Malaysia’s long-rul­ing gov­ern­ment and jailed on sodomy and cor­rup­tion charges widely con­sid­ered po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated.

The episode left her in con­trol of a re­form move­ment that emerged in re­sponse to An­war’s ouster. The popular An­war later be­came leader of a re­ju­ve­nated op­po­si­tion, which he in­spired to un­prece­dented gains in par­lia­ment.

“It is not that I am ask­ing for sym­pa­thy but don’t we want to fight the injustice? I need your help and I need your prayers,” she said in a speech Satur­day quoted by Malaysian me­dia.

Wan Az­izah, a pe­tite woman who wears a tra­di­tional Mus­lim head­scarf, is now pres­i­dent of An­war’s Peo­ple’s Jus­tice Party.

She ap­pears un­likely to re­place him as op­po­si­tion leader, how­ever, with the ba­ton ex­pected to pass to An­war’s long­time pro­tege Azmin Ali. The elec­tion is set for May 7. An­war was jailed in Fe­bru­ary for five years for sodom­iz­ing a for­mer male aide.

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