PKR today announced party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as its new candidate for the Kajang by-election.
Wan Azizah will replace her husband Anwar Ibrahim, the PKR de facto leader, who was initially the party's candidate for the by-election, but is now disqualified from contesting following his five-year jail sentence for sodomy handed on Friday.
This was announced by Anwar at a press conference in Kajang this afternoon, who temporarily remains a free man after being granted a stay of execution by the Court of Appeal.
"As the judiciary was manipulated by Umno to prevent me from contesting, therefore PKR, in consultation with DAP and PAS, would like to announce the candidate (for Kajang) is Wan Azizah Wan Ismail," said Anwar.
The announcement was preceded by a solemn message for the families of 239 passengers on flight MH370 that went missing over the Vietnamese coast yesterday.
Speaking up for women
In her acceptance speech, Wan Azizah said her nomination was fitting of International Women's Day which was yesterday.
"I am thankful for the trust and responsibility given to me and it is fitting for International Women's Day.
"I call on all the rakyat to join me in sending a strong message that we cannot continue to be oppressed by injustices," she said.
Wan Azizah denied being a seat warmer for Anwar, stressing that she represented the values of the party as well as women.
Prior to the general election, it was speculated that Wan Azizah may contest a state seat in Selangor but this eventually fizzled out.
After the Court of Appeal sentenced Anwar to five years in jail on Friday, he had announced that 12 names were being short listed as his replacement in Kajang.
'Pakatan endorses Wan Azizah'
Among the front runner was rumoured to be PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution, who was also present at the press conference.
Asked why Saifuddin was ultimately not nominated, Anwar said: "I was keen to have Saifuddin but he was reluctant and wanted to (continue as PKR) secretary-general.
"And in light of the current circumstances, Azizah was the suitable candidate - he (Saifuddin) was firm and adamant about that," he said.
Nomination day for the Kajang polls is fixed on March 11 and polling day will happen on March 23.
PKR deputy president Azmin Ali was notably absent at the announcement.
Also at the press conference were DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and PAS' central committee member Dr Hatta Ramli.
The duo endorsed Wan Azizah's candidacy and expressed hope she can defeat BN's Chew Mei Fun by a larger majority, and if possible cost the ruling coalition its deposit.
They also expressed condolences to relatives of passengers on flight MH370 and urge the government to provide accurate information to the public.