KOTA KINABALU: Pakatan Harapan Plus is now looking east to regain power and has picked Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as its candidate for the top job.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who announced their decision to name Shafie as their Prime Minister candidate effectively counted himself out of the running for the nation’s premiership.
The shift in leadership direction ends weeks of political posturing between him and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar, he said, has now been proposed to serve as Deputy Prime Minister 1 with Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as Second Deputy Prime Minister.
He said that DAP secretary general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Nasional president Mohamad Sabu agreed to this proposal of Parti Warisan Sabah chief Shafie replacing him as the candidate for the premiership during an informal meeting on June 25.
In a live Facebook video Dr Mahathir said some may have forgotten that Shafie was one of the first to fight against the kleptocracy and was a victim of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak whose Barisan Nasional coalition was defeated by PH and its allies in the May 2018 elections.
“He was ousted from his posts as minister and Umno vice-president because he could not accept the corrupt practices and the theft of the people’s money by Najib’s government.
“He was then with (current prime minister Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin). Now Muhyiddin has left the struggle and joined the kleptocrats who once got rid of him,” said Dr Mahathir.
He also stated that he believed Shafie’s nomination would further strengthen the relationship between the peninsula and East Malaysia.
Dr Mahathir said the informal meeting was held at Rumah Sabah in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
“The informal talks were attended by Shafie, Mohamad Sabu, Lim Guan Eng and (DAP’s Cheras MP) Tan Kok Wai, Mukhriz, (former Bersatu secretary-general) Datuk Marzuki Yahya and a few others.
“We discussed the current happenings in the country and the issue of returning the mandate of the people which has been wrestled by Muhyiddin and his followers.
“In the discussion, I was open to all proposals, even if it is not to nominate me as the next Prime Minister.
“It was suggested that Shafie becomes the candidate for the next Prime Minister.
“We then decided in a consensus that Shafie be named as the next Prime Minister. I fully support this.
“We also agreed to propose Anwar as the future Deputy Prime Minister I and Mukhriz as the Second Deputy Prime Minister.”
Dr Mahathir said he would moot a vote of no confidence against the government of Muhyiddin at the next parliament session on July 13.
He had a fallout with Muhyiddin when the latter became the Prime Minister on March 1, after Dr Mahathir resigned abruptly on Feb 24.
He, however, stayed on in Pakatan Harapan despite his then party joining hands with Barisan Nasional parties and PAS to form a new Federal Government.
However, in the past couple of weeks, Dr Mahathir had also had a fallout with Anwar, Pakatan Harapan’s initial choice for the ninth prime minister if it wins the next general election.
Shafie’s Warisan Plus component parties – PKR, DAP and Amanah – subsequently called on federal leaders to look to Sabah and Sarawak to solve the political stalemate.
They argued that the political model adopted in East Malaysia was mature in the context of multi-racial politics as well as religion.
The Sabah PH leaders proposed that this political formula, especially in Sabah, serve as a reference to overcoming political uncertainties in the country.
“It is high time for Sabah and Sarawak leaders to be given strategic roles in leading the country,” they added.