KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim today sought to justify his choice of Port Dickson for his parliamentary comeback amid accusations of nepotism against his family members, saying he did not want to replace his wife as the deputy prime minister.
Speaking at a dialogue session with his supporters today, the PKR president-elect said he did not choose the Pandan seat, where his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is the incumbent, because she is the deputy prime minister.
“Who is going to be the deputy prime minister then? If I win, I don’t want to be the deputy prime minister. I have already told Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” he said.
“I will wait for my turn, then I take over. That is my stand. She cannot vacate the seat,” he said.
Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah’s decision to give up his seat to make way for Anwar drew criticism from both supporters and opponents of Pakatan Harapan (PH), many questioning why Anwar’s wife Wan Azizah and their daughter Nurul Izzah did not give up their seats.
In the May general election, Nurul Izzah contested in Permatang Pauh, Anwar’s traditional seat in Penang which he represented for some two decades, interrupted by his jail terms in 1999 and 2015.
Anwar today said he still must work hard to win in Port Dickson.
“I do not take things for granted. I am not arrogant. I do not assume that Port Dickson is a natural base for PKR or Pakatan Harapan,” he said.
He said one of the challenges he would face was to explain to voters why he chose Port Dickson.
“I need to tell them, what I have to offer to PD, and why it is important to appeal to them to support and endorse my candidacy.”
He said it was not true that he would be assured of a victory in Port Dickson due to his stature.
“I am going there as Anwar, seeking the support of the electorate. If you have the time, you can drop in and give your support.”
Meanwhile, Anwar said he welcomed any offer to help him in the by-election, including the statement of support from Barisan Nasional’s Padang Rengas MP, Nazri Aziz.
“However, when it comes to party strategy, party platform, that is going to be decided by the party. I am not arrogant to reject any offer of help.
“Anyone who wants to help, we should be prepared to consider. The issue is whether it is on the platform of PH or PKR, which is certainly not the case,” he added.