SEBERANG PERAI, April 16 — PAS is keen to regain the Permatang Pauh seat that is linked to the Islamist party’s founding, with president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang last night personally naming the candidate who will lead the attempt.
Hadi pointed out that his party had contested there since 1969 before yielding the seat to PKR 30 years later.
“We (also) held the seat back in 1978, when the Zabidi Ali won, until Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, under Barisan Nasional, took the seat from us in 1982,” he said in a ceramah at Pongsu Seribu here last night.
The seat is currently held by Anwar’s wife, PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Hadi said Permatang Pauh’s sentimental value to his party was why he chose to reveal the candidate for the seat first, ahead of the rest of the country.
The PAS president also said it was time for the Islamist party to begin flexing its political muscle, and that it will begin by retaking Permatang Pauh from its former ally.
“I believe the young candidate we have chosen to win back this seat is capable of gaining the people’s support,” he said, before announcing Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden as his party’s choice for the seat.
Afnan, who is PAS Youth secretary, previously contested in the Kepala Batas parliamentary seat.
The 37-year-old told a press conference later that he will try a new approach this time to gain the confidence of voters.
“We will appeal to the voters through a different strategy,” he said.
PAS’ announcement means there will be at least a three-way fight for the seat as Barisan Nasional is certain to field a candidate here.
Dr Wan Azizah’s hold on the seat has been inconsistent, with her margin of victory fluctuating from poll to poll.
She won with a 9,077-vote majority in 1999 and barely retained the seat five years later, holding on by just 590 votes. This improved again in 2008 to 13,388, but declined again in 2013 to 8,841 votes.
PAS and PKR were informal allies until last year, when the Islamist party severed all ties with the latter.
PAS will announce its full candidates list in all states this Thursday.