Datuk Anwar garnered 31,195 votes to beat Barisan candidate DDatuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who polled 15,524 votes, while Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia candidate Hanafi Hamat lost his RM15,000 deposit after getting only 92 votes.
The PKR de-facto leader was returned to Parliament with a majority of 15,671 votes, exceeding the 13,388-vote majority won by his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in the March 8 general election.
The closely watched by-election was called after Dr Wan Azizah resigned as the MP on July 31 to enable her husband to run for election.
Anwar held the seat for four terms before he was sacked from his Deputy Prime Minister’s post in 1998 under corruption and sodomy charges.
Dr Wan Azizah, who had been known as a reluctant politician, won the seat for a third term in March.
A mammoth crowd comprising PKR leaders and supporters gathered early at the tallying centre at the Tuanku Bainun Teacher Training College in Bukit Mertajam to celebrate Anwar’s victory.
Supporters in the crowd let off fireworks as returning officer Roslan Yahaya announced the results about 10pm.
Voter turnout was relatively high, at about 80% of the total of 58,459 registered voters in the constituency.
Barisan was the underdog from the start in the hard-fought by-election that Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak described as a titanic challenge.
Anwar’s convincing victory was reminiscent of his heyday, when he secured a stunning 23,515-vote majority in the 1995 general election by polling 27,945 votes.