November 17, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been lending his star power to bolster defences at Pakatan Harapan (PH) seats in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, ahead of Malaysia’s general election on Saturday.
Since Tuesday, Datuk Seri Anwar has been helping to stump in 15 parliamentary wards that will be contested by candidates from his Parti Keadilan Rakyat and coalition ally Parti Amanah Negara. The third key component of PH is the Democratic Action Party.
His forays culminated in a mega rally late on Wednesday night in the hot seat of Gombak, which was also attended by senior PH leaders. Thousands braved the rain to hear the seasoned politician speak, and cheered and clapped as he railed against what he described as systemic corruption among PH’s political rivals.
“I have come to Gombak to kick the traitor out from Gombak,” said Mr Anwar, referring to incumbent MP Azmin Ali, who was one of the dozens of lawmakers who defected from PH in February 2020 and caused its government to collapse.
“Let this be a lesson in the future – don’t accept a traitor,” he said.
The Gombak ward is seeing a five-cornered tussle between caretaker minister Azmin from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari from PH, Barisan Nasional’s (BN) Megat Zulkarnain Omardin, Gerakan Tanah Air’s Aziz Jamaludin Tahir and independent candidate Zulkifli Ahmad.
Earlier, during his visit to the various wards, Mr Anwar was mobbed by people who wanted to shake his hand and take selfies with him. He also spent time having meals with supporters, listening to their concerns and views on the country.
He urged those present to continue supporting PH, adding that Malaysia needed leaders and a government that is able to tackle the current economic slowdown.
“Give PH a chance to set up a clean and authoritative government. The mandate you give is a responsibility for us to bring drastic changes to the country,” Mr Anwar said at a gathering in the Batu constituency in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday night.
The constituencies he visited in the last two days will see multi-cornered fights, and are also among the seats that BN is hoping to wrest back from PH.
Some seats, such as Sungai Besar in Selangor as well as Titiwangsa and Lembah Pantai in Kuala Lumpur, were marginal seats that PH narrowly won in the 2018 national polls.
Umno, BN’s linchpin party, has fielded urbane educated ministers such as Mr Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Zafrul Aziz in the tough constituencies of Sungai Buloh and Kuala Selangor, respectively, as part of its strategy to win back seats in Selangor, Malaysia’s richest state.
Selangor has been governed by PH since 2008, and recent polls indicate that the coalition has the upper hand so far in the campaign.
The latest survey by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research conducted from Nov 5 to 8 found that PH is the preferred coalition to run the federal government among slightly over one-third of West Malaysians, and that Mr Anwar is also the preferred choice for prime minister.
A YouGov survey of 2,687 people carried out between Nov 8 and 14 found that PH may pick up 35 per cent of the vote share, followed by rival Perikatan Nasional, an alliance helmed by former premier Muhyiddin Yassin, with a vote share of 20 per cent.
BN’s vote share trailed at 17 per cent, while 20 per cent of survey respondents did not disclose their choice.