KOTA KINABALU – Sabah Democratic Action Party (DAP) agrees on Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision on selecting Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as its prime minister candidate if the opposition wins in the 14th General Election (GE14).
Its chairman, Stephen Wong, said the opposition needed Mahathir’s strength to topple the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
He said the former prime minister was the only one who could influence the Malay votes, especially Felda settlers.
Wong said there were bound to be unfavourable opinions against Mahathir but the latter had apologized for past mistakes during his tenure as prime minister.
He said it was not easy for the 92-year-old Mahathir, who had been prime minister for 22 years, to set aside his pride and openly apologize for his past mistakes.
“Even parents will find it hard to admit and apologize for their mistakes to their children,” he said.
Wong said Mahathir had also apologized to the family of PH’s de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the coalition’s convention on Sunday.
“We should not doubt his sincerity.”
Besides, Wong said, Mahathir would be an interim prime minister.
He said Mahathir had agreed to seek a Royal Pardon for Anwar once the opposition pact formed the government and would hand over the prime minister’s post to Anwar.
“Mahathir has agreed to this. He said he only wanted to topple the present government and get Malaysia back on track.”
He said the people should be forward thinking to change the current state of the nation.
“Our country is plagued by many issues. We need to rectify the problems and bring our nation back on track, or else there will be no hope for Malaysia.”
Wong said Sabah DAP and the State PH would also bring Sabah’s issues to the federal level in search for solutions, especially on fake MyKads.
“If we capture Putrajaya, we will resolve the issues in stages.”
He said Sabah DAP also agreed to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as deputy prime minister.
DAP Sabah secretary Chan Foong Hin said the announcement of Mahathir’s role as an interim prime minister was made with the full knowledge of Anwar.
Chan said the people need not worry over his (Tun M’s) perceived dominance in Pakatan Harapan (PH) as he did before in BN/Umno at one time.
“The seat allocation announced reflected a more equal sharing of seats. PH upholds a different set of ideology. We have no ‘big brother’ in the coalition. Even the issue of the PM announcement took time to resolve based on consensus,” he said.
He said Mahathir subscribed to PH’s struggle and agenda since he and his party, PPBM, joined force with PH. The Muafakat PH launched during the PH Convention last Sunday had listed PH reformist agenda, including institutional reforms such as an independent Attorney General, Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission and Election Commission.
“I am of the view that Tun M has realized how important it is for democracy to be upheld when he became part of the opposition. The core theme for this coming election is about returning Malaysia to a normal democracy. Let’s move forward and seek the solutions to the problems encountered today. Don’t be entrapped in the past,” Chan said.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Tawau branch secretary Gan Chee Chan welcomed Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision to choose Mahathir as the prime minister.
He said Tun M had been prime minister for 22 years, and he is certainly capable of bringing Malaysia back to excellence and be a competitive nation in the future.
“He will be assisted by Dr Wan Azizah, and the cabinet members definitely will have the dynamism and mindset to restore the economy and well-being of the people who are now burdened by the worst-hit economy,” he said.
He hoped the people, especially the voters, will accept favourably the decision of two doctors collaborating as prime minister and deputy prime minister.