BREAKING NEWS! Anwar Ibrahim will contest a by-election in the Permatang Pauh Parliamentary seat which will be vacated by his wife, PKR leader DrWan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Wan Azizah told a packed press conference this afternoon that she will be resigning her position as member of parliament for the seat but will retain her post as PKR president.
"I have submitted my resignation letter to House speaker today," she said.
A calm Wan Azizah told the journalists that the people in Permatang Pauh have a special affinity to Anwar, who have been their elected representative eviously.
Anwar said that other party leaders had offered their seats to him but he preferred Permatang Pauh.
He said that, among others, Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had offered him his Bandar Tun Razak seat, just as party vice president Azmin Ali had offered his Gombak seat.
"After discussion with party leaders, I have decided to go for Permatang Pauh," he said.
He added that he had informed his decision to PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang who had given his full support.
Anwar, who is seeking a parliamentary comeback after an absence of 10 years, has been shopping for a seat to contest after the expiry of a five-year ban from active politics.
The Election Commission will be required to call a by-election within 60 days.
Permatang Pauh has been held by Anwar for 17 years since he joined Umno in 1982.
Wan Azizah took over as MP for the seat after her husband was sacked from Umno in 1998, and was subsequently jailed on charges of corruption and sodomy.
In the 2008 general elections, she won the seat for a third term with a majority of 13,388. Anwar had earlier said that he would contest in Kulim-Bandar Baharu seat if a court orders a by-election in the Kedah seat.
The High Court is to hear a challenge on Aug 19 asking it to invalidate the result in the seat that was won by his PKR in March 8 general elections. However, uncertainty over possible delays in the court decision was a key factor in the change of mind.
In resigning her seat, Wan Azizah could be slapped with a five-year ban from running in another election. Her decision today will likely mean an end to her 10-year political career.
Anwar was also asked what would happen if he is to be charged with sodomy in relation to the police report lodged by his former aide, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan on June 28.
"What charge?" he retorted.
"They have nothing to charge me with. They have been fishing for almost a month now and they haven’t caught any fish yet. Maybe they would catch a coconut and assume it’s a fish."
However, there are fears that he could be arrested. (read here)
"They may arrest him in the next 48 hours. It is aimed to prevent him from contesting a by-election," Tian Chua, PKR information chief, told AFP.
The government responded to today's announcement by saying it did not fear Anwar's possible return to office.
"We are not worried ... we will face it ... he is not a threat. It is a democratic process, good luck to him," Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar told reporters.
Syed Hamid confirmed that police have completed their investigation and have submitted their findings to the Attorney General’s Chambers to determine if a criminal charge should be levelled against the PKR leader.
Even if he was arrested and charged, Anwar can still run in the by-election as he would only be disqualified if he was found guilty and slapped with at least a two-year jail sentence and/or fined more than RM2,000.
Present at the press conference to show support were also two of Anwar’s daughters, Lembah Pantai MP Nurrul Izzah and Nurul Nuha as well as PKR deputy-president Dr Syed Husin Ali and vice-presidents R Sivarasa and Azmin Ali.
Other who were there included Cheras DAP MP Tan Kok Wai who was there to represent the party leadership.
Read Rocky'sBru2 Husam welcomes Anwar back in Parliament : here