Anwar not taking over Pandan seat


PETALING JAYA, June 6 (Bernama) -- PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has refuted speculation that he will be taking over the Pandan parliamentary seat, which is being held by his wife PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Deputy Prime Minister.

Anwar, who is also Pakatan Harapan de facto leader, said, at this juncture, it was impractical for him to do so as Wan Azizah, the new holder of the second-highest position in the government's administration, would have to step down early in order to give way.

In addition, he said that after being released from prison recently, he was more comfortable being a "backbencher" (supporter of the government).

"I am free. I want to go around first, I have commitments, teaching and lectures, many in several universities, both domestic and abroad.

"In fact, I have not had the experience of being a regular MP. Prior to this, I have held several ministerial posts and been opposition leader, so now I want to be backbencher," he told reporters after holding a briefing for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) elected representatives here today.

At the event, 48 out of 50 PKR parliamentarians and 51 of 67 PKR state assemblymen were present.

This was Anwar's first official meeting with all PKR elected representatives after his release from prison following a full pardon from Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Muhammad V.

A lot of speculation, especially on social media, claimed that Dr Wan Azizah would resign as Pandan Member of Parliament to allow a by-election to enable Anwar to contest.

Commenting further, Anwar also confirmed that he would not contest as a member of parliament during the period before the start of the first session of the Dewan Rakyat on July 16.

"I have programmes in London and Turkey and after that I will be back, going round to the states I have not yet visited.

"After completing the programmes in Arabian countries and the United States, then we will be discussing again, which will take more than two months, the decision to contest in which seat," he said.

Asked on the statement by former New Straits Times Group Editor-in-chief Datuk A Kadir Jasin who disputed the rights and privileges of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Anwar said it was improper for a person to exercise his right and freedom to speak against the institution of the Malay Rulers with disputable facts.

"I do not deny the right of a person to write and speak but to attack and insult the rulers with disputed facts and with intent to cause problems in the country is not appropriate," he said.

Kadir had said earlier that an average of RM16 million per month was spent, among others, on accommodation, residential, personal belongings, aircraft, transport, clothing, gifts and souvenirs, overseas visits for His Majesty the King and salaries of palace staff.