PETALING JAYA • Malaysia’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) decided at an emergency meeting yesterday to support only the proposal for its president Anwar Ibrahim to be the prime ministerial candidate for Pakatan Harapan (PH).
PKR has rejected the return of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the coalition’s candidate.
In a statement issued after the video conference, the PKR leadership and MPs said the party would not support any proposal for Dr Mahathir to be made Malaysia’s prime minister again.
“The PKR supreme council held a special meeting with PKR MPs today. The problem arose as Dr Mahathir had stated that he wants to return as prime minister for the third time.
“PKR is open to discussions with all parties including Dr Mahathir, in its efforts to save Malaysia and return the mandate of the people to its rightful place,” read the statement by the PKR supreme council and party MPs.
“However, PKR has decided not to support the proposal of Dr Mahathir as the (ninth) prime minister and sticks to the Pakatan consensus of proposing Anwar as PM.”
The co-called “Pakatan Plus” alliance of 107 or 108 MPs has been torn over whom to put forward as its prime ministerial candidate to help its push to return to power.
PKR has 38 MPs including Datuk Seri Anwar. Without its support, PH cannot try to topple the three-month-old government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
PH’s three members – PKR, Chinese-based Democratic Action Party and moderate Islamic party, Parti Amanah Negara – have a total of 91 MPs.
But the DAP and Amanah have indicated that they are willing to back Dr Mahathir in his bid to return as prime minister for the third time.
The PH alliance has 14 other federal lawmakers – the nine MPs from Parti Warisan Sabah and the five rogue MPs from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia including Dr Mahathir himself, who are keen to have Dr Mahathir as the candidate for PM to topple the Muhyiddin-led Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance.
PN, which came to power at the end of February, has around 113 MPs – just a shade above the minimum 112 lawmakers in Parliament needed to control the House.
PKR, in its statement yesterday, said the party appreciates the fact that its fellow PH component parties DAP and Amanah support Mr Anwar as the next PM.
The so-called “Pakatan Plus” alliance of 107 or 108 MPs has been torn over whom to put forward as its prime ministerial candidate to help its push to return to power. PKR has 38 MPs including Datuk Seri Anwar. Without its support, PH cannot try to topple the three-month-old government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
But the two parties issued a statement later to say that they were willing to support Dr Mahathir as the prime minister’s candidate.
This came after meetings between the opposition chiefs found that putting Mr Anwar as the front runner failed to attract sufficient opposition lawmakers to their side.
PKR has promised to soldier ahead. “PKR will focus all efforts and preparations on the possibility of a snap election at any time soon,” it said.
In a promise to voters, PKR said it will uphold the federal Constitution and the rights of the Malay rulers as well as protect the rights of the Malays and the bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK