JOHOR BARU, July 10 — Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim believes PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is Pakatan Harapan’s best candidate for prime minister as he encapsulates the dreams Malaysians have of a just, progressive, democratic and united country.
The Johor PKR man challenged former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark that leaders of multiracial political parties are not suitable to become Malaysia’s prime minister.
“In my personal view, Dr Mahathir’s stand was wrong. In fact, a leader of a multiracial party such as PKR, is suitable to become Malaysia’s prime minister as the country itself is a multiracial society,” Hassan said in a statement today.
He said creating a fair community with a progressive democratic and united country is the aim of PKR’s struggle as contained in Article 5.1 of the party’s constitution.
“To Dr Mahathir, I would like to ask why a leader, which carries the ambition in creating a just society, democratic country, a progressive and united country is not suitable to become prime minister?” Hassan asked.
The 69-year-old social activist and former Johor PKR chief said that PKR also respects Malaysia’s system of a constitutional monarchy and upholds the spirit of the Federal Constitution.
“They include equality, where everyone is treated equally and has the right to receive protection under the law, freedom of speech and assembly, Islam as the federation’s official religion despite allowing other faiths to be practiced freely and peacefully, as well as ensuring Bahasa Melayu is the official and national language.
“These PKR objectives and purpose, which I have touched upon, is enough to reject Dr Mahathir’s claims that Anwar is not suitable to lead the country as he is a leader of a multiracial party.
“Dr Mahathir is wrong as those who are not qualified to become the prime minister are those leaders from political parties that support a racial discrimination policy, reject a democratic and united country, and practices polices that are disunite the races and faith just to continue to be in power,” said Hassan.
Dr Mahathir, who resigned from office in February, had expressed his desire to make a comeback as prime minister if PH returns to power, but recently said he was dropping out in favour of Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal after PKR rejected and insisted Anwar be named as the bloc’s prime minister candidate.
Last month, in an interview with Asia Times, Dr Mahathir said his refusal to back Anwar was not due to any distrust of the latter, but a matter of pragmatism, claiming his former deputy could not muster enough support from among Opposition parties to mount a credible challenge against Perikatan Nasional.
In March, Dr Mahathir had claimed that Anwar did not have the support of the Malay community since his time in Umno, as they viewed him as a “liberal”, adding that the Malays feared liberalism would lead to an erosion of their rights and privileges.