Anwar should take on PKR defectors Azmin or Zuraida, say analysts

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should take on PKR defectors Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali or Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin in the 15th General Election to prove his mettle, analysts said.

Remaining in Port Dickson or returning to his home turf in Permatang Pauh would reflect poorly on the PKR president, they said.

National Professors Council senior fellow and political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir said Anwar could sweep to victory in Gombak and Ampang constituencies because both seats are PKR's strongholds and the grassroots there are eager to vote the party back into power.

"Winning Gombak or Ampang would be a heroic victory for Anwar and boost PKR's morale.

"It will send a clear message that people voted for the defectors only because they wanted PKR to be in power.

"Personally, I feel it will be far easier for Anwar to beat Zuraida in Ampang and kill her political career once and for all," he said.

Meanwhile, Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan said contesting safe seats would erode the people's admiration for Anwar even if he wins with a large majority.

"PKR grassroots and the people want to see Anwar show his leadership and 'punish' the defectors for toppling Pakatan Harapan's 22-month rule.

"Honestly, at this point, any PKR candidate can oust Azmin or Zuraida from their seats. So, Anwar should seize this opportunity to make his victory in GE15 meaningful," he said.

On Sept 29, Anwar declared he was ready to stand against "traitors" of PKR and PH in the 15th General Election (GE15).

Nevertheless, the opposition leader has not ruled out the possibility of contesting other seats, such as Port Dickson and Tambun.

However, Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun felt Anwar should contest in a non-controversial urban or sub-urban seat with a multiracial composition.

"This would allow Anwar to criss-cross the nation to campaign for other PH candidates," he said.

Universiti Malaya's Associate Professor Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said PKR deputy president Rafizi Ramli should stand against Azmin in Gombak while Anwar focuses on reinforcing PH's machinery during the polls.

Rafizi had indicated that he would prefer to stand in Pandan, a parliamentary seat he had held for a term after his electoral debut in the13th General Election in 2013. He defeated MCA's Lim Chin Yee by 26,729 votes.

The PKR deputy president became ineligible for re-election in 14th general election in 2018 because of his pending appeal against a 30-month jail sentence by the Shah Alam Sessions Court for leaking banking details belonging to the National Feedlot Corp and its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail .

In 2018, Wan Azizah took over the seat and won by a majority of 52,543 votes against MCA's Leong Kok Wee.

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