MUHYID­DIN NOT THE CHO­SEN ONE

PKR sticks with An­war, pours cold wa­ter on Dr M’s choice

New Straits Times - - News -

SYED UMAR ARIFF AND ARFA YUNUS SHAH ALAM news@nst.com.my

TUN Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad was dealt a big blow when PKR unan­i­mously called for Datuk Seri An­war Ibrahim to be made prime min­is­ter-des­ig­nate.

It was also ef­fec­tively a snub to Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia (PPBM) pres­i­dent Tan Sri Muhyid­din Yassin.

The call was made dur­ing a gim­mick at PKR’s 12th na­tional congress here, when Pakatan Hara­pan lead­ers on­stage, in­clud­ing DAP ad­viser Lim Kit Siang, stood and held plac­ards that read “An­war as the 7th PM” if Pakatan Hara­pan wins in the 14th Gen­eral Elec­tion.

How­ever, the two top PPBM lead­ers stuck out like sore thumbs when they did not raise the plac­ards be­fore a crowd of PKR del­e­gates.

PPBM chair­man Dr Ma­hathir and party pres­i­dent Muhyid­din did not raise the plac­ards, lead­ing to PKR deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Azmin Ali look­ing awk­wardly at both men.

In what was de­scribed by ob­servers as a “sub­tle op­po­si­tion” against the call, Dr Ma­hathir in­stead held up his mo­bile phone to take pic­tures, while Muhyid­din only opted to pro­vide an ap­plause. How­ever, Dr Ma­hathir later signed a pe­ti­tion call­ing for An­war’s re­lease from prison.

Dr Ma­hathir re­fused to com­ment on why he did not hold up the plac­ard, but dis­missed sug­ges­tions that past en­mity be­tween him and An­war was the rea­son.

Dr Ma­hathir said he was not the one who sent An­war to jail this time around, and shifted the blame to Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak.

“This is PKR’s congress. It’s not me who put him (An­war) in jail, that’s an old story. (Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri) Na­jib Razak is the one who put him in,” he said.

Pressed fur­ther on his choice of prime min­is­ter, Dr Ma­hathir said: “that’s up to ev­ery­one”.

As he was about to de­part, Dr Ma­hathir only re­sponded with a smile and a slight nod when jour­nal­ists asked if he too agreed with the call to have An­war as the prime min­is­ter can­di­date.

Last year, the for­mer premier called for Muhyid­din to be the prime min­is­ter if the op­po­si­tion won the next elec­tion.

Dr Ma­hathir — who now serves as a spe­cial ad­viser to Pakatan Hara­pan’s pro-tem com­mit­tee — had said the op­po­si­tion would col­lec­tively de­cide on who be­comes the next prime min­is­ter if it wins the elec­tion.

Later dur­ing a wind­ing up speech, PKR vice-pres­i­dent Rafizi Ramli ap­par­ently landed a sub­tle jab against PPBM, by ex­clud­ing the fledg­ling party from the ros­ter of Pakatan Hara­pan mem­bers that had ac­cepted An­war as can­di­date for the top of­fice.

“Our prime min­is­ter (can­di­date) is An­war and our friend in DAP and PAN (Parti Amanah Ne­gara) have agreed that Dr Wan Az­izah will be the in­terim prime min­is­ter.

“An­war will be named as our prime min­is­ter af­ter he re­ceives the Royal par­don,” he said.

An­war is cur­rently serv­ing a five-year sen­tence for sodomis­ing his for­mer aide and is due for re­lease in 2020.

In Kota Baru, Pas ex­pressed its non­cha­lance over PKR’s choice of prime min­is­ter can­di­date, and said any­one was en­ti­tled to throw a name in the hat.

Pas vice-pres­i­dent Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Ab­dul­lah said al­though Pas and PKR were no longer in a pact, the Is­lamic party had al­ways be­lieved party pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Ab­dul Hadi Awang was the best man for the job.

“We (Pas) don’t have a re­la­tion­ship with PKR any­more, so it is their right to do what­ever they want.”

EL­LIANA ZAKARIA PIC BY INTAN NUR

PKR pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Dr Wan Az­izah Wan Ismail (right) and PKR deputy pres­i­dent Datuk Seri Azmin Ali (sec­ond from right) hold­ing up plac­ards that read ‘An­war PM ke-7’, while Parti Pribumi Ber­satu Malaysia chair­man Tun Dr Ma­hathir Mo­hamad (third from right) is hold­ing up his hand­phone at PKR’s 12th na­tional congress in Shah Alam yes­ter­day. Also present are DAP ad­viser Lim Kit Siang (fourth from left) and PPBM pres­i­dent Tan Sri Muhyid­din Yassin (left, ap­plaud­ing).

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