KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 15 — PKR and Pakatan Harapan were upfront with the plan to trigger a by-election for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim if needed, he said to allay criticism from both allies and rivals.
The PKR president-elect and the politician designated to be the next prime minister dismissed views that the vacancy forced in Port Dickson was somehow unexpected, and explained that the strategy was laid out clearly by the ruling coalition.
“The understanding ... is that immediately after the pardon, I should enter the race,” he was quoted as telling the Associated Press yesterday.
“I waited four months and I think it is also important for me to start connecting.”
Anwar may have had a role in creating the backdrop for the controversy, however, with his previous insistence that he was not in a rush to return to active politics.
Yesterday Anwar said his return to active politics would allow him to participate in the parliamentary and institutional reforms the administration is planning.
He also reiterated his support and commitment to allow Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to continue leading despite allegations from his own party that the prime minister and PPBM intended to block Anwar’s eventual rise.
Both men also reiterated their individual pledges to each other separately yesterday.
This is the second time Anwar responded indirectly to those such as Wanita PKR chief Zuraida Kamaruddin and former Bersih 2.0 chairman Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan who questioned PKR’s manner in arranging a vacancy for him to contest.
During a PKR event in Melaka a day after the so-called “PD Move” was announced, Anwar stressed that the entire move was free of any coercion.
He said former Port Dickson MP Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah stepped aside willingly and was not made to resign the post.
Dr Mahathir and PH helped secure a royal pardon for Anwar following the general election, which removed his previous disqualification owing to his second sodomy conviction.
Anwar is hoping to become a federal lawmaker in order to be poised to assume the post of prime minister once Dr Mahathir chooses to relinquish the position.
Dr Mahathir previously said he planned to step down in two years, but later clarified that this could be sooner or later than stated.
Danyal resigned as Port Dickson MP on Wednesday, but the Election Commission has yet to meet and decide on the dates for the eventual poll.