PKR rejects Dr Mahathir but leaves open channel of discussion as long as Anwar the PM candidate

PKR said it remains in agreement with Pakatan Harapan’s consensus to nominate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
PKR said it remains in agreement with Pakatan Harapan’s consensus to nominate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. ― Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — The PKR central leadership council (MPP) today rejected the suggestion that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad be nominated as Pakatan Plus’ prime minister candidate, saying it will stick by its president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In a statement today signed by their MPPs and MPs, the party said it remains open to talks with all parties, including Dr Mahathir, and is committed to saving Malaysia and restoring the people’s mandate.

“However, the party has decided not to endorse the proposal to nominate Tun Dr Mahathir as prime minister, and remains in agreement with Pakatan Harapan’s consensus to nominate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.

“Keadilan is committed to strengthening Pakatan Harapan (PH), and will continue to mobilise the energy of all parties who shared the same understanding to restore the people’s mandate in the near future,” the party said in the statement, referring to PKR’s official abbreviation.

PKR also said that, in the meantime, they will focus on snap elections if it were called amid rumours that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Umno and PAS are preparing for them too.

“At the same time, Keadilan will continue to concentrate and be prepared for any surprise general election that may be called at any time,” said the statement.

PKR MPP held its emergency meeting this morning after being pushed by their allies to make a decision to nominate the prime minister candidate for the Opposition to challenge the parliamentary majority of the Perikatan Nasional government who took power in February.

Yesterday, PH secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail revealed that, in its discussions with Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu faction and Parti Warisan Sabah, the party never officially nominated the elder statesman as its prime ministerial candidate.

Instead, Saifuddin, who is also PKR secretary-general, said that in its seven meetings since May 30, the coalition has been consistent in nominating Anwar as its main candidate to lead the “restoration of the people’s mandate” discussion with their allies.

On Wednesday, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke said both his party and Parti Amanah Negara are backing Dr Mahathir as the candidate, with PKR the only party yet to agree to it.

Loke also said that DAP had initially agreed to a PH proposal for Anwar to be prime minister, with disputed Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as the deputy. But the suggestion was rejected by Warisan, leading PH to return to the “fallback” plan of a Dr Mahathir-Anwar combo.

PH was supposed to give their answer on Tuesday; however, Saifudin previously said Anwar is unavailable as he has a scheduled visit to Sarawak.

Malay Mail previously reported that Anwar is trying to canvass support for his premiership from East Malaysian MPs.

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