Mahathir: Unite first, name PM later

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SHAH ALAM: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has rejected a proposal that the Pakatan Harapan opposition alliance  name its candidate for prime ministership beforehand, in anticipation of forming the next Federal Government.

Mahathir, who is chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia said naming a candidate before former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was released from prison would only create a split among members.

This is despite the fact that there are several suitable leaders for the post, should Pakatan Harapan secure enough seats to form a government.

Mahathir said the opposition needed to focus on uniting its component parties so they would all contest at the next general election as one entity, under one banner and one symbol.

“The focus now is to unite all opposition parties in Pakatan Harapan, because there are several small issues that must be resolved.

“We have to get to Putrajaya first. Then we can name anyone to be the prime minister,” he said at a press conference today at the Pakatan Harapan convention being held at IDCC Convention Centre.

Parti Amanah Negara’s deputy president Salahuddin Ayub had earlier suggested at the convention that the alliance should propose a nominee to lead the government while Anwar served his five-year jail sentence for sodomy.

Salahuddin said Anwar, the former deputy prime minister, has been the opposition’s choice to lead the country if they come to power.

On a separate note, Mahathir said his party PPBM would join Pakatan Harapan after sorting out certain matters. “We must fight as one entity to defeat BN. The coalition’s name and symbol can be decided among the parties.”

He said that despite his earlier message to PAS (in which he accused the party of serving Najib Razak), PPBM would still try to coax PAS into joining the coalition, so that there would not be three-cornered electoral contests.

“If PAS is to contest on its own, we will see a three-cornered fight in at least 40 constituencies and this will bring victory to BN.”