PKR has set three conditions that must be met for it to consent to making Dr Mahathir Mohamad the opposition pact’s interim prime minister ahead of the 14th general election.
According to a party insider who attended the party’s political bureau meeting on December 19, the first condition is that de facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim is immediately released from jail and installed as the prime minister within a year of the opposition coming into power.
“The second condition is that PKR be allocated the most federal seats to contest in GE14. PKR wants around 60 seats in Peninsular Malaysia.
“The third condition is for Dr Mahathir to agree to reform key institutions in the country,” said the source.
During a two-day PH retreat on December 1, DAP, Amanah and Bersatu had agreed to Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail in being the interim prime minister and deputy prime minister, respectively, if Putrajaya is won.
However, the full consensus has been delayed by PKR, who had wished to discuss the proposal internally before coming to a decision.
Another party source familiar with last week’s PKR meeting said the three conditions would be put to Dr Mahathir, who would have to sign a contract if he agreed.
“We want Dr Mahathir to promise that he will only be a temporary prime minister and that he will hand the office over to Anwar when the time is right.
“PKR wants the most seats because it fears that many Umno leaders will flock to join Bersatu after GE14, making it the strongest party in PH,” said the source.
He said PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was tasked with bearing the proposal to Dr Mahathir.
“Besides Dr Mahahtir, Saifuddin has to meet PH leaders Lim Kit Siang and Mohamad Sabu to convince them to accept these conditions,” said the source.
PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar said on Wednesday that there was no need for PH to name its interim prime minister now.
She said that PH should instead focus on winning GE14 and carrying out reforms.
Political analysts believe that naming Dr Mahathir as the opposition prime minister was a good strategy to win over rural Malays, who are predominantly pro- Umno.
“If the pact is solely to win rural Malay votes, it might just work,” said James Chin, executive director at Asia Institute at the University of Tasmania.
“Naming Dr Mahathir is a smart move as they are telling the Umno Malay voters that if you vote PH, you get the original Umno, not Najib’s Umno,” Chin said.
Although the opposition managed to win 52% of the popular vote and the lion’s share of the non-Malay vote, it could not win Putrajaya without the support of rural Malays.
In this respect, said Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, Dr Mahathir was a stronger draw than Anwar.
He said that since Dr Mahathir came on board, the coalition had been better organised and structured.
This is not the first time that PKR has delayed proceedings in PH.
The PH presidential council lineup selection was delayed for more than two months because of PKR’s opposition to Dr Mahathir as the PH chairman.