The by-election in Permatang Pauh is by no mean just another ordinary election warned Tengku Razaleigh. The Gua Musang Umno Division Head said Barisan needs to prove that it has heard the voice of the rakyat (citizenry) and remains the best choice of government.

“The stakes are high because the Opposition is fielding its de facto leader (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim). Given the controversies of the past weeks, and Anwar’s boast that victory in Permatang Pauh would be his first step towards Putrajaya, Barisan is now being challenged,” he said.

Tengku Razaleigh said he hoped Abdullah would lead Barisan to a victory that would belie Anwar’s boast. This is a test of Abdullah’s legitimacy that he can and must pass, the Gua Musang Umno division head said.

“We need to lay to rest the impression that we have lost the confidence of the rakyat and that our hold on government is tenuous. The entire country and indeed, the whole world, is watching,” he added

On the other hand Permatang Pauh is for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to lose as he marched this morning to the nomination centre at Maktab Perguruan Tuanku Bainun to reclaim his political career and perhaps a shot at being the sixth Malaysia prime minister.

Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah and Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s startling oath by the Quran yesterday that he was sodomised by Anwar is a pothole that can flip his quest to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

Anwar and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, who quit the seat on July 31 after holding it for three terms, arrived at the nomination centre with his whole family and top Pakatan heads like Lim Guan Eng, Lim Kit Siang, Husam Musa and Ronnie Liu.

Arif Shah, who used to be the Permatang Pauh Umno division Youth chief when Anwar led it, came earlier at 8.38am accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Datuk Seri Rais Yatim and Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

A huge PKR supporters marched into the field at the nomination centre as early as 8.06am. A smalller group of BN supporters came in half an hour later.

At 11.45am, returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced there were three candidates contesting the seat: PKR adviser and de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Seberang Jaya MP Datuk Shah Omar Shah and Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) president Hanafi Hamat.

An independent candidate Dr Mansor Othman, former Penang PKR leader, had also submitted his nomination but later withdrew, losing his RM15,000 deposit in the process.

Dr Mansor later revealed that it was a strategic moved by PKR – had Anwar nomination disqualified he will go ahead contesting the seat.

File Photo: Lastsham