PETALING JAYA – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has yet to give his blessing to naming Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the opposition coalition’s prime minister candidate.
However, multiple sources in PKR claimed that their de facto party leader is not blocking the move but wants the party to further discuss the issue and make a decision that reflects what the rakyat wants.
“He does not want our party to be pressured into a decision without going into the pros and cons of naming Dr Mahathir,” said a top PKR leader who declined to be named.
The PKR leader admitted that many other PKR leaders were also uncomfortable with the idea of Dr Mahathir as Pakatan Harapan’s prime minister candidate.
Muhyiddin has federal experience while Azmin has performed as Mentri Besar of Selangor.
However, PKR’s stand is unlikely to stop Dr Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia from going ahead to claim the position for their 92-year-old chairman at their party’s first national AGM in Shah Alam on Saturday (Dec 30).
Muhyiddin, who is Pribumi president, laid the ground during an interview with an online news portal, by stressing the urgency of naming a prime minister candidate ahead of the general election expected by April.
“Anwar is not threatened by Mahathir as some have claimed. Why should he feel threatened by a 92-year-old man? Moreover, he will be out by June next year. Anwar reads the ground well and he is worried that it will not be good for us.
“When they formed (Pribumi), the impression we got was that Muhyiddin would be potential PM candidate. Mahathir repeatedly said he did not want to contest (the general election). But people in DAP and Parti Amanah Negara went to persuade him, it got into his head and got the better of him,” said the PKR leader.
The same PKR leader pointed out that their manifesto limits the prime minister to three terms and states that he cannot concurrently hold the finance portfolio.
“If Mahathir is the choice, people will turn around and point out that Mahathir started all this, how can he be trusted to change things?” said the PKR leader.
The move to name Dr Mahathir as prime minister candidate was mooted on the sidelines of a Pakatan retreat in Putrajaya earlier this month.
However, the idea met with a cool reception in PKR even though Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was proposed for the deputy prime minister post. There has also been a deafening silence from Anwar, 70, who is recovering from a shoulder surgery.
Since then, there has been conflicting and confusing statements from Pakatan leaders, a sign that a solution has yet to be found on this key matter.