KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 – Former tourism minister and Umno Supreme Council member Nazri Aziz said Anwar Ibrahim’s victory in Port Dickson was a divine will, adding that no force could now stop him from taking over as the country’s number one leader.
“People can do anything but cannot challenge God’s will. He’s been sent to prison, accused of a lot of things. It’s God’s will for him to lead the country,” said Nazri, hours after Anwar was declared the winner in Port Dickson with a majority bigger than that of former MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah in the May polls.
The Padang Rengas MP said he was “extremely happy” with Anwar’s victory in the by-election, where he gained some 70% of the total votes, defeating six other candidates.
“I’m also looking forward to him being in Parliament because it is easier to work with Anwar on national affairs,” he told FMT.
Nazri said the PKR leader deserved the victory.
“Malaysia badly needs him now,” he added.
Nazri said only Anwar could “put the country back on track”, adding that there had been so much hatred and mistrust among Malaysians since the May 9 general election which brought Pakatan Harapan to power.
He praised Anwar as “non-vengeful”, saying this was proven by his willingness to forgive Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Anwar was once sacked by Mahathir from the Cabinet when the latter was the fourth prime minister in 1998, before being charged with sodomy and abuse of power.
Nazri, who had openly supported Anwar even before the start of the Port Dickson campaign, said he was glad that his party stayed out of the by-election.
But the vocal Umno leader refused to say whether his party would work with Anwar, merely saying that “we’ll cross the bridge when we get there”.
“He never left Umno, he was sacked. I’ve always supported him, it’s just that I chose not to leave Umno,” said Nazri.
‘Anwar must learn humility’
Meanwhile, one of Anwar’s critics who had criticised the so-called “Port Dickson move” to force a by-election there, said tonight’s outcome was not surprising because Anwar got the backing of PH bigwigs including Mahathir.
“I hope he learns humility and understands the weaknesses he brings to the job. I hope he changes and understands that Malaysia is for Malaysians,” lawyer Siti Kasim told FMT.
Siti, who has frequently warned the public of Anwar’s “radical” past, said the PKR leader should “lead the Malays out of their extreme religious-centric existence and into modernity”.
“It’s time for him to perform,” she added.
Independent candidate Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, who got the lowest number of votes, said he accepted his defeat with an open heart.
“What is certain is that this is a sweet experience,” said Saiful, who only got 82 votes.
“I’m still young. This is not the end, my journey has just begun. What is certain is that I will continue with my struggle and my principles,” said the former aide to Anwar who was at the centre of the sodomy charge that sent Anwar to jail in 2015.