Malaysia's Anwar makes a comeback as opposition leader

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Singapore, Aug 27 (UNI) Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has scored a landslide win to return to Parliament as an opposition leader with a 15,671 vote majority from the Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat last night.

The 61-year old de facto opposition leader took 31,195 votes from his home base constituency, defeating the challenger from the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).

BN's candidate Arif Shah Omar Shah, 51, obtained 15,524 votes and a third contender from Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia Hanafi Mamat, 61, lost his deposit after getting only 92 votes in yesterday by-election.

Mr Anwar's wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who held the seat on his behalf since the 1990s and had defeated BN candidate in the March 8 general election, resigned recently, paving the way for him to return to Parliament after a disqualification period expired for having been jailed.

Mr Anwar was sacked more than 10 years ago on corruption and sodomy charges. He is currently facing another charge of having sodomised one of his assistant.

He is now set to lead his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and last night reiterated his intention to set up a new government with Pakatan Rakyat, a new coalition of opposition parties in Parliament.

Mr Anwar, a Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh in northern peninsular Malaysia from 1982 to 1999, is expected to take over as opposition leader in the house from his wife.

He has promised to challenge the government. He has claimed enough support of both opposition and BN members in the house to form the next government next month.

''This is the people's victory,'' Mr Anwar said in a victory speech after the by election last night.

''Permatang Pauh has given a clear signal to the leadership of this country. We demand change. We want freedom. We don't want to live with corruption and oppression,'' said Mr Anwar, calling for an independent judiciary and economic benefit for the vast majority.

UNI XC SBA VP0440

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