DR Mahathir Mohamad will be the prime minister while Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be his deputy if Pakatan Harapan (PH) wins the next general election and forms the federal government .
PH secretary-general Saifuddin Abdullah said under an agreement forged by the pact members, Dr Mahathir must also give way to Anwar Ibrahim to take over once the new government obtains a royal pardon for him.
Saifuddin also announced the final seat allocation for the 165 federal seats in Peninsular Malaysia, where 52 seats will go to Bersatu, 51 seats to PKR, 35 seats to DAP and 27 seats to Amanah.
“This is the first time the opposition has made the announcement this early,” he said.
The Malaysian Insight reported this morning that Pakatan Harapan top leaders had agreed on the seat negotiations and the prime minister and deputy prime minister positions last night.
Saifuddin said all Pakatan Harapan top leaders – including Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah, Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, DAP president Tan Kok Wai and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu – had signed off on the agreement.
He added that PH will seek royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim to ensure his release as soon as possible should PH win the 14th general election.
The opposition pact had delayed the announcement of its candidates after PKR disagreed to Dr Mahathir’s nomination.
The former prime minister, now the Bersatu chairman, had sacked de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim from government in 1998, turning his former protégé into an opposition icon.
The other parties had agreed to the proposal at a PH retreat in early December, but PKR said it needed more time to discuss the matter internally.
Sources later told The Malaysian Insight that PKR had set three conditions for Dr Mahathir to be named the coalition candidate for prime minister.
The party wanted Anwar to be made prime minister within a year of PH winning the election; it wanted the highest number of seats; and it wanted Dr Mahathir to agree to institutional reforms.
A group of Anwar supporters had picketed outside the convention centre this morning, expressing their wish for Anwar to be nominated as prime minister candidate.
Anwar, whose speech was read out by his daughter and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah before the official announcement by Saifuddin, said he would accept the decision of PH’s top leadership.
Earlier, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said in his speech that the opposition must be united to defeat BN in the upcoming election.
“DAP is always with Anwar Ibrahim. We will not forget Anwar Ibrahim. But if we want to topple BN, which now has a new friend in PAS, we need to gather all our forces to have a chance.”
“I would like to thank friends from PKR, Amanah and DAP that are ready to set aside their personal feelings from the past to accept our former enemies with an open heart to fight against the country’s enemy, which is BN,” said Lim.
A Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research poll conducted in December found that although BN’s share of the popular vote is likely to decline further, three-cornered fights and redelineation exercises make it likely for BN to regain a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
Saifuddin had previously said Anwar might be the best choice for PM but because he was still in jail, it was necessary to name Dr Mahathir the interim prime minister.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said PH had to name its prime minister candidate ahead of the polls to win voter confidence.