GE15: Tambun a do-or-die for Anwar says experts

Experts believe that PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has no choice but to win the Tambun seat in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Likening it to a "do-or-die mission", they believe that defeat would not only spell the end of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman's longstanding bid to become prime minister, but also mark the end his political career.

Political analyst Dr Ainul Adzellie Hasnul said Anwar's decision to contest in Tambun was a "gamble", but described it as a wise move.

He said the matter should be viewed from a broader perspective as the former Tambun member of parliament, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, had contested under the PKR ticket in GE14.

"We cannot predict who will vote for Faizal as we do not know whether they are supporting PH or Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (judging from GE14 results).

"It is definitely a gamble because if he loses to Faizal, he cannot be the candidate for prime minister," he told the New Straits Times.

Anwar had announced that he would be relinquishing his Port Dickson seat in favour of Tambun in Perak, which Faizal, who is Bersatu deputy president, won in 2018.

In GE14, Bersatu was part of the PH coalition along with PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara.

Ainul said the move was similar to DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang's move to contest in Johor in 2018.

"He (Anwar) could always go back and contest in Permatang Pauh, which has been a stronghold for him and his family since 1982.

"But he didn't, so we can say that this is Anwar's strategy for Perak to be a PH-led state," he said.

Universiti Teknologi Mara political analyst Mujibu Abdul Muis said should Anwar lose in Tambun, his future in politics, especially within his own party, would be in jeopardy.

He said contesting in Tambun was logical as the constituency was a mix of semi-urban and urban residents, ideal for a progressive and ideological-based party.

But he said an upset win by Perikatan Nasional (PN) or Barisan Nasional would be disastrous for Anwar.

He said this would allow PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli's team and the PKR new generation to pressure him to free the reins.

At press time, Anwar looks set to lock horns in Tambun with Faizal, as well as Umno Tambun division chief Datuk Aminuddin Md Hanafiah.

Meanwhile, another political analyst, Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia, dismissed the notion that the Tambun move was similar to the "Kajang Move" in 2014.

The Kajang Move was carried out with the aim of replacing then Selangor menteri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim with Anwar.

Lee Chin Cheh, the then Kajang PKR assemblyman, resigned on Jan 27, 2014, to allow for a by-election in which Anwar was intended to benefit.

The move was, however, foiled when Anwar was convicted in his second sodomy case by the Court of Appeal.

In 2018, after Anwar was pardoned by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the then Port Dickson member of parliament Danyal Balagopal Abdullah resigned to pave the way for a by-election to be contested by Anwar so he could return to Parliament.

PKR central leadership council (MPP) member Elizabeth Wong said placing Anwar in Tambun wasn't a gamble.

She said it wasn't only about winning the seat, but also to reclaim power in Perak.

"None of us in the MPP will even contemplate the thought of him losing. It does not occur at all. I do not think that is the issue (losing in Tambun).

"We hope he is able to galvanise enough support so that the other seats in Perak will also be a win for PH.

"That is the reason why he is there (Tambun), which is to open inroads in the state. I think it is good for us to win Perak and other seats throughout the country this time.

"After Selangor, Penang and Negri Sembilan (which are led by PH), Perak is one of PH's focus this election," she said.

She also dismissed rumours that Tambun was a red herring, with Anwar actually gunning for Gopeng, a seat dominated by Chinese voters.

"No. Definitely not (Gopeng). I think it is false information. It is Tambun," said Wong.

Fellow council member Juwairiya Zulkifli said it was vital for Anwar to win so that PH could recapture Perak.

"Perak was once under PH and we do not see a big difference in terms of composition between the opposition and the government. We do not want just three states, we want to win more. So we are going into this confidently," she said.

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