PORT Dickson voters aggrieved by how the by-election was triggered specifically for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim can use their ballots to convey their dissatisfaction, said Election Commission (EC) chairman Azhar Harun.
In the “Let’s Talk” show on Astro Awani last night, Azhar clarified that Anwar’s candidacy is legitimate and the by-election is lawful, despite backlash from sections of the public.
“It is up to the people to decide whether they want to fill in the seat vacated by a PKR MP with another PKR MP,” Azhar told host Sharaad Kuttan.
“If they feel strongly against that move, if they feel it’s a waste of public funds, or a betrayal of sorts of their vote on May 9, then they’ll vote against the very person who is running in place of the people who vacated the seat.”
Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah resigned last month, triggering the by-election this weekend engineered by PKR to facilitate Anwar’s return to Parliament.
The EC chief explained that lawmakers were entitled to resign at any time and not obliged to justify this with any reason.
Earlier, Azhar declined to comment when Sharaad asked whether the by-election would be a waste of money.
He explained that it was not his place to judge the value of such events, but only to ensure that they are carried out according to the law.
“I’m a positivist. As long as a law was passed, I follow the law. I don’t moralise,” he later explained his stance on laws perceived to be bad.
Azhar also said the EC has concluded that Anwar’s royal pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong qualified him to contest, explaining that this was clear from the moment it accepted the PKR president-elect’s nomination papers.
He also downplayed accusation that allowing the by-election to happen was another case of the EC accommodating those in power, like it allegedly did during the Barisan Nasional administration, saying: “Not under my watch.”
A total of 7,191 early voters are eligible to vote early for the by-election today.
Anwar is contesting against six other candidates in the Oct 13 poll.