Pakatan Harapan parties have been supporting Dr Mahathir Mohamad long before PAS was in the frame, said Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Commenting on PAS’ plan to table a vote of confidence for Mahathir, the Harapan advisory council chairperson said she had not heard of an opposition party supporting the prime minister.

“Typically, the opposition will not vote in favour (of the prime minister),” she told reporters in Shah Alam today.

Last Saturday, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said PAS would move the vote of confidence during the next Dewan Rakyat sitting in March.

The motion aims to express support for Mahathir’s leadership and for him to serve until the end of his five-year term.

Prior to the last general election, Harapan parties agreed that Wan Azizah’s husband and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim would succeed Mahathir before the latter’s term in office expires.

Since then, speculation has been rife that the plan would not materialise despite both Mahathir and Anwar claiming otherwise.

On Sunday, Mahathir reiterated, for the umpteenth time, that he would pass the leadership baton to Anwar as promised.

However, he pointed out that it is the Dewan Rakyat that would serve as the ultimate decider on who should helm the government.

Two days earlier, Anwar told Reuters that he is prepared to wait another six months to become the premier and expressed confidence that he had the support of Harapan.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Report claimed that MPs from Umno, Bersatu, PAS as well as those aligned to Anwar’s estranged deputy Azmin Ali have inked a statutory declaration in support of Mahathir.

Wan Azizah: I was a small-town girl in Ireland

Earlier, Wan Azizah delivered the closing address at a regional conference on peaceful co-existence, hosted by Selangor government think-tank Institut Darul Ehsan, in collaboration with Unisel, Japan’s Sasakawa Peace Foundation, and Indonesia’s Habibie Centre.

The Habibie Centre was founded by Indonesia’s third president, the late Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie.

In her speech, Wan Azizah noted how Habibie left his hometown in Indonesia as a youth to pursue his education in Germany and overcame the challenges of being a minority through cultural assimilation.

Similarly, Wan Azizah, who graduated from Ireland’s Royal College of Surgeons, recalled how it was her dream to study abroad in order to gain exposure.

“When I was there, it was a bit of culture shock since I was a small-town girl. But at that time we had basics, we learnt English, we could communicate.

“At that time, I was part of the minority and we had to survive among the majority of different people, different faiths and different way of life.

“Yet at the same time preserve my faith and how I was brought up,” she added.

Overall, she said the culture of interaction and getting to know one another must be instilled in a diverse society to bring about a community that works together towards a common goal of peace.

Anwar, who delivered the opening address earlier, touched on how “inaccurate interpretations” of certain Quranic verses and hadith or teachings of Prophet Muhammad had partly contributed to obstacles in interactions between Muslims and non-Muslims.

‘MPs ink SD backing Dr M’ – Anwar in the dark, Zuraida denies report

Anwar Ibrahim offered a brief response to Sarawak Report’s claim that federal lawmakers are inking a statutory declaration (SD) for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to serve as prime minister until the next general election.

“I have not been officially informed,” the PKR president told reporters in Shah Alam when questioned on this matter this afternoon.

However, Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin denied that PKR MPs aligned to Anwar’s estranged deputy Azmin Ali had signed the document.

“Not true. Not that I know of,” she told Malaysiakini.

Zuraida is currently on leave from her position as PKR vice-president pending the party disciplinary board’s proceedings against her.

Quoting reliable sources, Sarawak Report claimed that MPs from Umno, PAS, Bersatu and PKR – who are aligned to Azmin – “have been pressured to fly in from all corners to Kuala Lumpur” to sign the SD over the last 48 hours.

Malaysiakini has contacted several Umno and Bersatu lawmakers for comment as well.

If true, the SD would be seen as contravening the earlier agreement among Pakatan Harapan parties for Anwar to succeed Mahathir before the next general election.

The news also comes in the wake of PAS announcing its plan to table a vote of confidence for Mahathir’s leadership in the next Parliament sitting in March and speculation of a new political alignment in the making.

Sarawak Report also cited “rumours” that if sufficient numbers of lawmakers sign the SD, the architects behind the move would seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The whistleblower website, which played an instrumental role in exposing the 1MDB scandal, also noted the obstacles with regard to the vote of confidence for Mahathir.

“Any such confidence motion is unlikely to reach the top of the order paper unless it receives notice of backing by the government as official business.

“To do so would force Mahathir to publicly admit he is supportive of these manoeuvres by the opposition parties and malcontents in Harapan whilst at the same time risking defeat given the apparent fine balance of MPs – each side claims it has managed to gain a majority of supporters.

“It would, therefore, seem clear that the main reason for rounding up these SDs is that the plotters hope to be able to thereby nail down their numbers and strengthen their hand to tempt the prime minister to give them their day in Parliament.

“What Mahathir would gain from such a move remains hard to ascertain. He would immediately confirm existing fears over his willingness to betray the voters who put him in power, create fury and enmity among MPs from his own coalition and place himself at the mercy of the very schemers and alleged criminals he returned to politics in order to hold to account.

“Likewise, PKR collaborators, such as Azmin, would find themselves under such a realignment to be very small fish in the new political pond… swimming amongst sharks.

“The winners would be (former premier) Najib (Abdul Razak), (his wife) Rosmah (Mansor), (former Umno vice-president) Hisahamuddin (Hussein), (Umno president Ahmad) Zahid (Hamidi) and (PAS president) Abdul Hadi Awang’s PAS, which is why these are the main players behind the SD.

“How many of the MPs signing up were voted into office to help those folks will eventually become clear if and when this secret exercise eventually becomes public.

“Sarawak Report is aware that this is in fact the second such exercise – a raft of signatures remain hostage to exposure on a previous SD document that has already been signed but as yet not used,” read the article.

On Sunday, Mahathir reiterated, for the umpteenth time, that he would pass the leadership baton to Anwar as promised.

However, he pointed out that it is the Dewan Rakyat that would serve as the ultimate decider on who should helm the government.

Two days earlier, Anwar told Reuters that he is prepared to wait another six months to become the premier and expressed confidence that he had the support of Harapan.