PKR information chief Tian Chua has condemned the Election Commission’s decision to hold the Permatang Pauh by-election on a Tuesday, instead of on the weekend which is usual practice.
“I think the reason they are having it on a weekday is to reduce the turnout,” he said.
bersih protest constitution amendment 071207 tian chua”This is a deliberate action to inconvenience the voters. We condemn the Election Commission for their decision.
“We fear there could be rigging. We urge our supporters not to be complacent, it is going to be a tough battle but we are confident of victory,” he said.
Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of PKR which heads the three-member opposition alliance, has said he is bracing for “massive” vote-rigging by the government to block him from winning the key ballot.
Election Commission chairperson Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman today announced that all parties must nominate their candidates on Aug 16, with polling day on Aug 26.
“During the by-election, it is important for all parties to follow the orders given by the security authorities and ensure peace and stability,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, EC secretary Kamaruzaman Mohamad Noor said Anwar could still contest the by-election even after sodomy charges were laid, although he would be disqualified if he is found guilty and jailed.
permatang pauh past election results 060808″Under Malaysian laws, you are only guilty when you are convicted. Otherwise, being charged does not make you a convict, or a guilty person,” he told AFP.
Anwar, a former deputy premier who was jailed a decade ago on sodomy charges that were later overturned, faces new allegations by a 23-year-old aide, Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Police have confirmed that he would be charged tomorrow.
By-election a barometer
Ibrahim Suffian of the Merdeka Centre research firm said Anwar was virtually assured of victory in the by-election.
“Barring any unforeseen situation emerging in the next couple of weeks, I don’t think we are in for any surprise – he’s going to win the election by a handsome margin,” the pollster said.
“The key thing will be the margin by which he wins, and whether it’s bigger than his wife’s margin, as a barometer of how opposition support has improved or not since March,” he added.
Voters are expected to give Anwar a clear victory.
“The government has been telling us that it was wrong for Anwar’s wife to resign so soon after the general elections,” said 35-year-old businesswoman J Sumathi.
“However, it is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. Anwar is a capable leader who should be in Parliament to fight for our rights.”
Why polling day on a Tuesday?