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PKR today announced its deputy Penang party chief Mansor Othman as the candidate for the Penanti by-election. The announcement was made by the party’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at a public rally in the Penang state constituency which is situated within his stronghold Permatang Pauh. With his candidacy confirmed Mansor is expected to be named the new deputy chief minister if he wins the seat, said Anwar.

“I have discussed this matter with Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng. If he wins and becomes the assemblyman his name will be proposed to be considered as a candidate for the deputy chief minister post,” declared Anwar. Lim was also present at the announcement. The by-election was called following the resignation of Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin who had earlier stepped down as deputy chief minister amid allegations of corruption. He was subsequently cleared by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.

“So on May 31 our responsibility is big. We are not electing an assemblyman but also a possible candidate to be the deputy chief minister,” Anwar added. Anwar said that the former USM lecturer was the most qualified candidate adding that the party’s leadership had agreed that the party nominates someone senior for the by-election. “He earned a masters degree from USM and a Masters in Arts and a Masters of Philosophy from Yale University. He was an associate professor at USM and was also the director of the centre for policy research,” said Anwar.

His selection would also be seen as another attempt by Anwar to tighten his grip on the party and the administration of the state. An Anwar loyalist, Mansor was the former deputy prime minister’s political secretary and also a founder leader of the then Parti Keadilan Nasional in 1999. In the Permatang Pauh by-election last year, Mansor filed his nomination as an independent in the event Anwar was disqualified by the Election Commission, but he withdrew his papers once the returning officer confirmed accepting Anwar’s nomination. In the last general election Mansor contested in the Pulau Betong state seat but lost narrowly to Barisan Nasional’s Muhamad Farid Saad. Mansor had been expected to be nominated a senator by the state assembly yesterday but instead proposed Penang PKR secretary Mustafa Kamal Mohd Yusoff.


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