Malaysian DPM Wan Azizah says good time for Anwar to return to politics

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PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said on Thursday (Sept 13) it was a good time for her husband Anwar Ibrahim to return to national politics, a day after his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) party announced that he would contest a by-election in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan.

Datuk Seri Wan Azizah made the comment when asked whether her husband was being "impatient", in wanting to contest in the by-election.

"He has been in jail for 11 years now," said Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the Women and Family Development Minister.

"When you talk about (him being) impatient, well, it is a good time (now) and he wants to contribute," she said.

Datuk Seri Anwar, who is PKR president-elect, is planning to contest in the Port Dickson seat that the party's Datuk Danyal Balagobal Abdullah said on Wednesday he would vacate.

This is to facilitate his return to active politics and pave the way for him to eventually become the country's prime minister.

If Mr Anwar wins the Negeri Sembilan constituency, he will return to the Dewan Rakyat as a Member of Parliament, allowing the transition of the country's leadership to take place in line with the Pakatan Harapan government's agreement.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he would honour the agreement - that he will be interim Prime Minister for two years before handing over the reins to Mr Anwar.

Dr Wan Azizah said on Thursday that Mr Anwar was given a chance to be in Parliament before, but "it was taken away".

When asked whether Mr Anwar's presence in Parliament, along with that of herself and their daughter, Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, would constitute nepotism, Dr Wan Azizah disagreed.

"Is it a problem? We were voted in by the rakyat (the public)," she remarked.

The opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) said on Thursday it is not contesting the vacated Port Dickson seat, but instead would support any Barisan Nasional candidate fielded against Mr Anwar.

The party's decision came after a special central committee meeting chaired by PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang in Kuala Terengganu on Thursday.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said the party would support either Umno or Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) candidates contesting the seat, in line with its determination to strengthen the opposition in Parliament.

"We will support any opposition party, be it Umno or MIC," he said in a statement.

Datuk Takiyuddin said PAS would rather support another opposition party contesting the hot seat as its own chances of winning the seat was slim.

The announcement by PAS would appear to pave the way for a direct contest between Umno and PKR as the MIC has also announced that it would not be contesting the seat.

Mr Takiyuddin also said it was against good democratic practices to force a by-election, as it incurs wastage of public funds.

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