KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he fully supported a proposal by AMANAH, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) and DAP to nominate Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as the prime minister candidate of the opposition.
Dr Mahathir, who is the Member of Parliament for Langkawi, said the decision to nominate Mohd Shafie, who is also Sabah Chief Minister, as the prime minister candidate was reached at an informal meeting he had with his allies at Rumah Tetamu Sabah here on Thursday (June 25).
The meeting also agreed to nominate PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the candidate for Deputy Prime Minister 1 and former deputy president of Bersatu Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir for the post of Deputy Prime Minister 2, he said.
“During the discussions, I was open to any suggestions including excluding me as a candidate for the post of prime minister. Among the proposals was the nomination of Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal as prime minister (candidate).
“We unanimously agreed that Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal be named as the prime minister candidate. I fully supported this proposal. It is important that we have a firm stand so that the people will know our stand,” he said in a statement today.
He said Mukhriz and Mohd Shafie were at the meeting, which was also attended by AMANAH present Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
Dr Mahathir said he believed that if this move was realised, it would further strengthen ties between peninsular Malaysia, and Sabah and Sarawak.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Mohamad Sabu and Lim Guan Eng said AMANAH and DAP took note of Dr Mahathir’s statement after the informal meeting two days ago and the proposal to name Mohd Shafie as the opposition’s new candidate for prime minister if the opposition recaptured Putrajaya.
They said AMANAH and DAP viewed this as a new option to realise efforts to restore the people’s mandate which was given to Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Warisan in the 14th general election. (GE14).
However, this proposal needs to be discussed at the central leadership level of AMANAH and DAP before it is taken to the PH presidential council for a joint decision, the two leaders said.
Prior to this, PH partners AMANAH and DAP had asked Dr Mahathir and Anwar to find common ground on the opposition’s prime minister candidate.
This was after PKR, the other component in PH, stood firm in rejecting Dr Mahathir to be the opposition’s choice to be prime minister if they came back to power.
Dr Mahathir, who was PH chairman, quit as Malaysia’s seventh prime minister after PH lost its majority in Parliament in February. PH took over Putrajaya after winning GE14 in May 2018.
PH collapsed after Bersatu and a faction in PKR pulled out of PH. Dr Mahathir also resigned as Bersatu chairman then.
Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin then teamed up with UMNO-led Barisan Nasional, PAS and a few other parties to form the new government called Perikatan Nasional.
He was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister on March 1.