Originally Anwar made a virtually 100% commitment towards standing in Kulim (the legality of the PKR candidate as its parliamentary representative is to be decided by a court case soon, which may rule a re-election or by-election).
Earlier in his man man lai speech in Bandar Tun Razak he had also teased the crowd that he wanted to stand there. His PKR man, Khalid Ibrahim, could give way to his parliamentary ambition, but then, he must have assessed that BTR was too dangerous for his parliamentary future to be decided by the voters there who could have sobered up after nearly half a year since the anti-BN tsunamic wave.
Then Malaysiakini reported in Cops wrap up sodomy probe, up to AG to act, referring to the investigation in which Anwar had been accused of being the perpetrator by the alleged sodomised victim. That could have tossed the dice for him!
On Thursday I posted Permatang Pauh - Anwar Ibrahim's strategy against arrest? in which I suggested that the Malaysiakini article He may be arrested 'in next 48 hours' could be:
… the reason for Anwar’s abrupt decision to contest Permatang Pauh by getting his wife, Dr Wan Azizah, to resign, which officially she already has, rather abruptly too.
Anwar Ibrahim is a master of such brinksmanship manoeuvres. By putting himself as a candidate for a federal parliamentary by-election just before his possible arrest, he is ratcheting up the political stakes as well as his international profile.
PM AAB will be more embarrassed by the action of arresting a parliamentary candidate for a by-election than just a political party advisor.
My perception of Anwar seeking ‘sanctuary’ in a parliamentary candidature has been agreed to by sweetie Joceline Tan of Star Online today in her article Who is going to take on Anwar?, where she wrote:
Anwar’s bid to return to his old homeground was a strategic and pre-emptive move against what he saw as his imminent arrest. He has studied well Sun Tze’s Art of War and, as even his Umno opponents admitted, he has dictated the agenda.
True enough, Malaysiakini reported in PM: No one will stop him from running, a clear sign that AAB was reacting defensively though defiantly when he was quoted by Malaysiakini as stating:
The premier said due process of the country's laws would not discontinue when an individual wanted to contest in an election, adding that there had been no such precedent.
He said both the due process of the laws and the by-election would go on in accordance with their respective processes and could not blend in any way.
He also said that the due process of the laws did not ignore the right of a complainant to seek justice in a court of law, provided there was a case.
But let’s leave that aside. As Najib admitted in a Malaysiakini report that Permatang Pauh tough for BN, Anwar Ibrahim is predicted to roam home with a comfy majority.
Let’s look at above chart. In 2008 his wife Dr Azizah won 64% of the votes in Permatang Pauh, with a majority of over 13,000, where the total voters’ turnout amounted to just over 47,000.
Compare this to 2004 where she scrapped through with just a 590 votes majority. The total voters’ turnout then approximated 42,000.
In simplified assumptions, Dr Wan Azizah must have, in the 2008 election, scooped all 5,000 new voters as well as chipped away almost 4200 votes from Dr Pirdaus’ 2004 supporters
We may assume that the 5,000 new voters would be pro Pakatan as most young ones are. These 5,000 would undoubtedly remain loyal to PKR and vote in Anwar Ibrahim in the coming by-election.
According to Malaysiakini report of the analysis of the recent general election, the swing was a humongous 35% by Indians, 30% by Chinese and only 5% by Malays.
The ethnic compositions of registered voters in Permatang Pauh are (and assuming the voters turnout for the coming by-election will be the same as in March 2008, and uniform for all ethnic groups - using rounded figures):
70% Malays = total 32,900
24% Chinese = 11280
6% Indians = 2820
I am going to make some simplified guestimates to see where the swing of 4200 of Dr Pirdaus (or UMNO) supporters had been from.
Let’s say the traditional voting pattern for Permatang Pauh’s PKR versus BN-UMNO prior to 2008 had been respectively:
Malays 50-50% = 16450 votes for BN-UMNO
Chinese 25-75% = 8460 votes for BN-UMNO
Indians 0-100% = 2820 votes for BN-UMNO
Applying the 5%:30%:35% swing, these would translate into 822:2538:987 = 4347 which is pretty close to the loss of 4200 by Dr Pirdaus.
Again, for simplicity’s sake, let’s assume registered voters remain at 47,000, which means a simple majority to win is 23,501 votes.
Anwar will enjoy as a very minimum the following votes:
21737 core votes (based on 2004 figures for Dr Wan)
5000 new votes (the young ones of 2008 – generally pro PKR)
… making a winning total of 26737, even if the tsunamic swing were to pendulum back (which we know won’t be that drastic).
Allowing for some swing backs by the Chinese, Anwar Ibrahim will win, perhaps with a slightly reduced majority, say 28,900 total votes with a majority of over 10800 (as compared to Dr Wan’s 30,000 with a majority of 13,000)
… unless UMNO can persuade the voters to swing to an extent of around 5500 votes
I think the (Hindraf-ised) Indians will remain behind PKR or Pakatan, unless UMNO plays on the Anwar’s ‘temple bell’ issue.
Anwar's notorious 'temple bell' incident happened at Kampong Rawa, Penang. The story goes that on 27 March 1998, Muslims praying in a mosque adjacent to the Sri Raja Raja Madurai Veeran temple were pissed off by the loud temple bells during their Friday prayers.
Some ugly scenes occurred where hundreds of Hindus and Muslims clashed just because of the temple bells. From that initial clash, other Hindu temples and Muslim mosques were attacked, with 4 people hurt and nearly 200 rioters arrested.
Apparently, Anwar (then DPM) had threatened the Hindus to accept whatever he said or (the oft-quoted ultimatum) no temple bells would be sounded in Penang.
A couple of months ago, Anwar gave a totally version of what he had actually said, though my Penang (Indian) larng said 'Pundee Poorah' to Anwar's new 'outside-UMNO-and-no-longer-DPM' story.
I am not sure how the Indian voters in Permatang Pauh will remember or even bother to remember that 'old-UMNO-Anwar' incident, but they make up a hefty 2800 votes!
I am also speculating that the Chinese swing of 30% in March 2008, constituting the greatest loss of 2500 plus votes for UMNO (outside of the new voters) may, at most, be halved = 1250 votes back to BN.
I don’t think UMNO will benefit from playing on Anwar’s anti-Chinese Islamist background when he was an UMNO minister, as UMNO itself has been pretty terrible in these regards, especially last year – so for the Chinese voters, it'll be a case of ‘six of one, half a dozen of the other’!
Now, the Malays!
UMNO may play heavily on Anwar's refusal to take an oath on the Quran to deny he sodomised Saiful.
Undoubtedly Anwar will counter by saying that he has left it in the most capable hands of the syariah courts.
Look, if DAP’s Charles Santiago and the Lina Joy brigade have been conspicuous by their deafening silence on the legal impossibility of Saiful ever getting 4 male witnesses, do you think the Malays in Permatang Pauh will even bother to raise this?
Besides, the imams of PAS will rally around Anwar, giving all sorts of Islamic legal reasons or excuses why he needn't.
Then of course, UMNO may play the ketuanan Melayu card by telling the Malays that Anwar has abandoned the NEP … but f* themselves in the eyes of the Chinese and Indian voters ;-)
… so on so forth
Just a kaytee’s Saturday afternoon simplified take on Permatang Pauh’s coming campaign.