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Don’t misinterpret Permatang Pauh by-election result: PM

JOHOR BARU, 27 Aug 2008: The result of the Permatang Pauh by-election, which was won by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, cannot be interpreted as a trend that can happen in other constituencies, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today.

The prime minister said the Barisan Nasional (BN) which won 140 parliamentary seats in the March 8 general election still commanded strong support from the people.

“What happened in Permatang Pauh was not something so big as to change the situation that exists after the last general election.

“The Permatang Pauh by-election is one by-election that cannot be interpreted as something that can happen in other constituencies. I believe we can still continue the government,” Abdullah, who is also BN chairman, told reporters after sending off Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah at the Senai Airport here today.

Anwar won the Permatang Pauh by-election yesterday with a 15,671-vote majority, garnering 31,195 votes against the BN’s Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, who obtained 15,524 votes.

The other candidate, Hanafi Mamat, 61, of Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim) lost his deposit as he only received 92 votes.

Meanwhile in KUALA LUMPUR, Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Anwar’s win would not threaten BN’s position as the ruling coalition.
He said there was no reason for BN members to be sad over its loss in the by-election as it was expected, and it was also not an upset for BN as Anwar had contested in his stronghold.

“This by-election is not just life and death for Anwar, but also for PKR and Pakatan Rakyat. But for BN, it’s just a seat and which did not belong to it but to PKR before the by-election.

“Anwar’s victory also does not affect the current government leadership. Pak Lah is still the Kepala Batas member of parliament (MP) and prime minister, while Datuk Seri Najib (Razak) is still Pekan MP and deputy prime minister,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby today. — Bernama

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