Permatang Pauh by-election, 2008

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A by-election was held for the Dewan Rakyat parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh on August 26, 2008 with nomination day on August 16, 2008.[1][2] The seat of Permatang Pauh in the Dewan Rakyat, fell vacant after the resignation of the incumbent, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, on 31 July 2008. Wan Azizah was the Leader of the Opposition as well as the President of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), a component party of the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.[3] The by-election was contested by the PR candidate former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. This election has been dubbed "the mother of all by-elections" by the media due to the potentially significant implication of the election as well as the high profile of Anwar Ibrahim.[4]

Anwar won the election and was sworn into Parliament on August 28, 2008,[5][6] vowing to topple the government with the help of defectors from Barisan Nasional.[7][8]

Background of the by-election[edit]

On July 27, 2008, Anwar said that he aimed to return to parliament for the first time in a decade later this year if a court ordered a by-election near his home town. The seat mentioned would probably be Kulim-Bandar Baharu constituency next to his hometown of Permatang Pauh in Penang.[9] Anwar Ibrahim on July 31, 2008 said he would contest a by-election for the parliamentary seat of Permatang Pauh vacated by his wife in order to expedite his return to political office. His wife Wan Azizah said she handed her letter of resignation to the parliament speaker on Thursday 31 July. Party officials said the by-election must be held within 60 days.[10] The Election Commission (EC) had fixed the nomination day for the Permatang Pauh by-election on August 16, with polling to be held ten days later on August 26. Some 58,459 voters in the Permatang Pauh constituency would be eligible to vote on August 26, a working Tuesday, adding that the figure also include 490 postal voters.[2]

Anwar Ibrahim was charged on August 7, 2008 for sodomy under Section 377B of the Penal Code, fueling speculations over a possible conspiracy on the part of the Malaysian government to derail his election campaign.[11]

Background of Permatang Pauh[edit]

Parliamentary seat P.44 Permatang Pauh lies in the federal state of Penang. In the 2008 election, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (a component party of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition), garnered 30,338 votes, defeating Firdaus Ismail of the United Malay National Organization (UMNO) (a component party of the Barisan Nasional coalition) (16,950 votes) .[12]

Nominations[edit]

Anwar Ibrahim on the nomination day

Ibrahim said: "Barisan Nasional is clearly overwhelmed. It's no longer a by-election. It's more than that." Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak admitted the ruling party was the underdog: "It is going to be an uphill task but nothing is impossible in politics."[13]

By-election results[edit]

Early results indicated a landslide victory for Anwar. Reuters reported "Anwar Ibrahim has won with a majority of 16,210 votes.[14] According to news website Malaysiakini: Anwar won 26,646 votes, while the government's Arif Omar won 10,436 votes. Anwar's People's Justice Party spokeswoman Ginie Lim told BBC: "We won already. We are far ahead."[15]

Malaysia's government and ruling coalition declared defeat in a landslide victory in by-election by Anwar Ibrahim. Muhammad Muhammad Taib, information chief of the United Malays National Organisation which leads the Barisan Nasional coalition stated: “Yes of course we have lost . . . we were the underdogs going into this race.“[16] Malaysia's Election Commission officials announced Anwar won by an astounding majority against Arif Shah Omar Shah of United Malays National Organisation and over Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi.[17][18]

Final results announced by the Election Commission reveals Anwar Ibrahim won 31,195 of the estimated 47,000 votes cast in the district in the northern state of Penang, while rival Arif Shah Omar Shah got only 15,524 votes and a third candidate had 92 votes.[19][20][21]

Dewan Rakyat: Permatang Pauh by-election, 2008
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Pakatan Rakyat Anwar Ibrahim 31,195 66.6 +2.4
Barisan Nasional Arif Shah Omar Shah 15,524 33.2 -2.6
AKIM Hanafi Hamat1 92 0.2 N/A
Majority 15,671 33.4 +5.0
Turnout 47,410 81.1
Pakatan Rakyat hold Swing +2.5

1Lost his deposit because of failing to obtain 1/8 of the votes.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ M'sia's Anwar says he is to be charged with sodomy on Thursday August 6, 2008, Channel News Asia
  2. ^ a b "Polling for Permatang Pauh on Tuesday, Aug 26". Yong Min Wei (TheEdgeDaily). 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-06. [dead link]
  3. ^ (31 July 2008). Malaysia's Anwar to contest election for wife's seat. Agence France Presse via Channel News Asia.
  4. ^ "Big guns from both sides descend on Permatang Pauh". The Star. August 4, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  5. ^ cnn.com, Anwar sworn in as member of Malaysian parliament
  6. ^ reuters.com, NEWSMAKER - Malaysia Anwar sworn in, ends political exile
  7. ^ afp.google.com/article, Malaysia's Anwar returns to parliament
  8. ^ theedgedaily.com, 28-08-2008: Anwar sworn in, appointed as Opposition Leader
  9. ^ Malaysia's Anwar eyes return to parliament in by-election July 27, 2008, Associated Press
  10. ^ Malaysia's Anwar to contest election for wife's seat July 31, 2008, Associated Press
  11. ^ "Malaysian opposition leader Anwar charged with sodomy". Agence France-Presse. August 7, 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08. 
  12. ^ "MYPolitician". mypolitician.com.my. Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  13. ^ bbc.co.uk, Malaysia's Anwar starts campaign
  14. ^ uk.reuters.com, Website says Anwar wins Malaysia vote with big majority
  15. ^ news.bbc.co.uk, Malaysia's Anwar claims vote win
  16. ^ thestandard.com.hk, Malaysian government declares by-election defeat to Anwar
  17. ^ bangkokpost.com, Malaysia's Anwar wins by landslide in election
  18. ^ "Malaysia's Anwar heads for parliament after election victory". AFP. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26. 
  19. ^ pr-inside.com, Malaysia's Anwar wins Parliament seat
  20. ^ ap.google.com, Malaysia's Anwar wins seat in parliament[dead link]
  21. ^ "Anwar wins seat; calls it 1st step to toppling Malaysian government". The Canadian Press. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2008-08-26. [dead link]