MALAYSIANS on Facebook chose Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali and Bersatu deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir over Pakatan Harapan leaders Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for the posts of opposition prime minister and deputy prime minister, in an online poll yesterday.
There were 1,100 respondents, 588, or 54%, of which picked the two younger politicians, compared wth 497, or 46%, who favoured the former prime minister and the PKR president, in the poll held on The Malaysian Insight’s Chinese Facebook page.
Dr Mahathir, 92, is chairman of Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan and Dr Wan Azizah, 65, is president of PH as well as PKR.
Social media users were asked to state which pair they preferred in the poll inspired by PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin’s proposal that Azmin and Mukhriz, both 54, should be the opposition prime minister and deputy prime minister candidates.
Zuraida had made the suggestion ahead of yesterday night’s PH presidential council meeting, which was to have reached a consensus on the coalition’s PM and DPM candidates, but in the end did not.
All PH components except PKR have agreed to name Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah as the PM and DPM candidates should the pact win the 14th general election.
The poll’s comments section was filled by Malaysians unhappy at the lack of choice.
Some said they could not bring themselves to vote, and one, in a post apparently directed at Dr Mahathir, said: “How dare you accuse the youth of not wanting to vote?”
One who expressed support for Dr Mahathir and his son, Mukhriz, was scoffed at.
“What can the father and son offer?” was one response.
“No one can deny that Mahathir is ex-PM and experienced. But Mukhriz, really? What can Mahathir Junior do?” was another.
Others suggested pairings such as Azmin and Dr Wan Azizah, Dr Wan Azizan and Mukhriz, and DAP Parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and his son, Lim Guan Eng, who is DAP secretary-general.
Yesterday’s poll results are consistent with those of a survey conducted in December by The Malaysian Insight on its English and Bahasa pages on Facebook.
Readers were asked if they agreed that Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah should be PM and DPM.
Of the 1,517 respondents, 872 (57%) users said yes and 645 (43%) said no. In the comments section, some said they agreed to the pairing if it meant the ousting of Prime Minister Najib Razak and the Barisan Nasional government.
A similar poll held on Twitter the same month saw 107 people (48%) vote for Dr Mahathir-Wan Azizah, and 115 (52%) saying nay in six-hour voting window.
Zuraida had said that Azmin and Mukhriz would appeal to young voters and that they, despite their relative youth, had experience leading a state. Murkhriz is former Kedah menteri besar.
PH needs to come to a decision and soon, if it is to fulfil Dr Mahathir’s promise that the coalition would unveil its PM and DPM candidates at a convention tomorrow.
It is uncertain if this will come to pass as de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is reported to be delaying the decision in favour of getting additional feedback from civil society groups and activists
A statement from former PKR deputy president and current political bureau member Syed Husin Ali last night affirmed this.
Last week, sources told The Malaysian Insight that PKR had laid down three conditions for its consent to Dr Mahathir as the PM candidate. One, Anwar must be made prime minister within a year of PH winning the election; two, PKR is to be given the bulk of federal seats in Peninsular Malaysia to contest; and three, Dr Mahathir must agree to institutional reforms when he is prime minister.