Odds shorten on Anwar as race gets tighter

By Debra Chong

PERMATANG PAUH, Aug 24 - Pakatan Rakyat's Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has as good as won the by-election here, according to the news in the underground.

The only question left – how big?

With two days to go before polling begins, illegal bookies in Penang are placing the odds at 4-1 in favour of Anwar winning by a majority of just above 10,000 votes.

A betting observer noted that it was a far cry from a week ago. Then, the bet stood at 5-1 with Anwar winning with an overwhelming 20,000 majority.

"Somehow, Anwar's popularity has decreased significantly in one week" he commented.

Was it due to the sodomy and corruptions allegations against him?

Not really, said a local Chinese gambler who had just stepped out from a legal 4D shop. Everyone knows Anwar will win, he said, because everyone here will vote for him. He added that some people might play dirty and use money to reduce the majority.

"I support him, but I'm not taking chances and placing my money on him because of that," said the elderly man of the bets on Anwar's win.

Another Chinese man, affiliated with the DAP, said that even the BN know that Anwar will win. The only thing they can do is to reduce the margin of victory, and they are going all out on that.

Why? "Because this is a Malay seat. If Anwar wins by more than 20,000 votes, it will mean that the Malays here are anti-Umno!" he analysed.

Should that happen, it may herald the beginning of the end for the present Umno-led Barisan government.


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