‘He is risking his political career’: Anwar’s presence in Perak a boost for PH, but victory is not assured

The three camps will fight to dominate Perak, which has 24 parliamentary seats up for grabs. The state is home to 2.01 million eligible voters – the third largest voting population in Malaysia after 3.65 million in Selangor and 2.59 million in Johor.

The coalition which gets the most seats in Perak will have higher chances of reaching a majority in the 222-seat Lower House.

“Since 2008, PH and BN have been almost equally strong in Perak,” said political analyst Professor Wong Chin-Huat from Sunway University. 

“As the support for PH has receded, as compared to 2018, it makes more sense for PH to target Perak.”

To achieve that, Prof Wong believes Mr Anwar – a prime ministerial candidate with decades of political experience – plans to use his presence and attention to win more support for his coalition in Perak.

At the same time, his candidacy in the constituency of Tambun could also benefit PH candidates contesting in other constituencies, especially those from his party – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

“I think the strategy works so far,” said Prof Wong.

In the previous election, PH won 13 parliamentary seats in Perak while BN managed to secure 11 seats. But unlike last time, PH is now fighting without one of its former allies Bersatu.

Bersatu and several members of parliament from Mr Anwar’s PKR left PH to form PN with PAS in 2020. This resulted in the collapse of the PH government after being in power for 22 months. It is commonly known as the Sheraton Move.

Following the political crisis, power in Putrajaya was seized by PN and BN. The two camps have ruled Malaysia since March 2020. They also aim to maintain power in this election.

“Perak will be the frontline of the battle in this general election,” said Mr Anwar last month. “That’s why I’ll be contesting in Tambun.”


Mr Anwar’s candidacy came as a surprise for residents in Tambun, even for his top contender and former ally from Bersatu, Mr Ahmad Faizal.

Speaking after his nomination on Saturday (Nov 5), he admitted the electoral battle in Tambun will be “really tough” with Mr Anwar among the contestants.

“Anwar Ibrahim is a big name. You know, the United Nations wanted him to become the secretary general. Can you imagine? But somehow, he chose Tambun. So, good luck to him,” said Mr Ahmad Faizal.

Still, he told CNA he is “fairly confident” his coalition PN will emerge victorious. 

“I hope after Nov 19, we are going to still be friends because Perikatan is going to form the government,” he added.