The big by-election show down between the ruling UMNO party and Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto opposition and PKR leader, has been settled with Dato Anwar handsomely winning the Permatang Pauh seat in Penang.
Dato Anwar will return to Parliament with a majority of 15,671 votes, exceeding the 13,388-vote majority won by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March general election. She had voluntarily stepped down to trigger the contest and allow her husband to contest once he was again eligible. Anwar previously held the seat for four terms before he was sacked from his Deputy Prime Minister's post in 1998 under corruption and sodomy charges.
In this contest, Anwar won nearly 2/3 of the votes against Barisan candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who polled 15,524 votes. A third candidate garnered less than 100 votes. Voter turnout was relatively high, at about 80%.
DPM Najib Razak who managed the Barisan campaign to fight on Anwar's home ground said it had been a titanic challenge and that the result was proof that democracy was still alive in the country and there was no manipulation involved.
Source: The Star, August 26, “Anwar is Permatang Pauh MP”