Permatang Pauh may not miss Anwar that much
PERMATANG PAUH, Feb 10, 2014:
The Federal Court’s verdict on Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was met with mixed reactions in his constituency of Permatang Pauh.
However, for many, life will go on with or without Anwar.
In the somewhat quiet town, after speaking to some local folks, it was gathered that Anwar’s absence would not really impact them as “Anwar’s presence in Permatang Pauh has never really been felt anyway”.
Retiree Sharif Razak, 65, of Kampung Samagagah, Pekan Permatang, a former Umno deputy chief in the area since 1978, when he first knew Anwar, said Anwar’s absence would not make any difference and it would not be felt as he was rarely seen there anyway.
“Look around this place for yourself here… Anwar has been a Member of Parliament here for many“What changes has he brought to Permatang Pauh?
“He is better known internationally than where his constituency is,” added Sharif.
He said the younger generation might not even know who Anwar was or how Anwar looks like.
He said the last time Anwar visited Permatang Pauh and met with the people there was before and during the last 13th
General Election two years ago.
After that it was during his recent “Rakyat Hakim Negara” road tour in Taman Ampang Jajar here on Saturday night.
Sharif said Anwar had to accept the decision by the courts and respect the decision.
“Nevertheless, I have to admit he made a good Opposition leader as he was very eloquent and provided the check and balance needed by the country.
“But many here are disappointed with his ‘all talk but no action’ approach,” added Sharif.
Asked whether Permatang Pauh was ready to see another by-election, Sharif said that it was no big deal as the local folks here had gotten used to by-elections here.
“We had a historical by-election in 2008 and this whole town was abuzz with you people (the media).
“Whoever replaces Anwar, I hope it is someone who is capable of working for the rakyat and does not use the political platform to achieve his or her personal agenda.
“But it is premature now to guess who will be replacing Anwar.
“It doesn’t matter which party the person is from. Our hope is for a leader who can really lead and reach out to the people, regardless of the background,” he said.
In August 2008, a by-election was held in Permatang Pauh.
The parliamentary seat became vacant after the resignation of the then incumbent, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, on July 31, 2008. (She is now the Kajang Member of Parliament.)
This election was dubbed “the mother of all by-elections” by the media due to the potentially significant implication of the election as well as the high profile of Anwar.
Anwar won the election and was sworn into Parliament on Aug 28, 2008.
For coffee-shop operator Pak Abu, of Kampung Petani here, the Federal Court decision had no effect on him and the local folks here.
“Life goes on no matter who our Member of Parliament is.
“It is not like we can be richer or poorer.”
Sundry shop-keeper Leong Teng Oon, 63, said although he sympathised with Anwar, “there is nothing much that can be done”.
“This country has rules and regulations and when one does something wrong, there is definitely a price to pay. But still, we wouldn’t know.
“It is all written in the books what will happen and sometimes we just have to accept it.
“Nevertheless, Anwar has fought a long way.
“He should have just accepted other countries’ offer of political asylum, but he chose to fight on. So that is his choice.”
Asked what his memory of Anwar, Leong said there was nothing much to recall except for the latter’s visits during campaign periods during every general election.
Permatang Pauh is near Seberang Perai, a quiet town on the mainland here, located about 15 minutes from the Penang Bridge.
The constituency covers areas such as Seberang Jaya, Permatang Pasir, Penanti, Kubang Semang, Bandar Perda, Tanah Liat, Guar Perahu and Mengkuang Titi.