PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and five MPs aligned to him today announced themselves as an independent bloc following a disagreement with Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) decision to back PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as the opposition’s candidate for prime minister.
They said they were sticking to an earlier decision to name Warisan president Shafie Apdal for the top post, adding that DAP and Amanah made an about-turn despite initially backing the Sabah chief minister.
“We made a decision to stick with Warisan as an independent bloc inside and outside of Parliament. We will not join forces with any coalition.”
Mahathir had proposed Shafie as PH’s candidate for prime minister if it returns to power, with Anwar and Mukhriz Mahathir as his deputies.
He said this following a meeting with former top leaders from PPBM, DAP and Amanah.
However, DAP and Amanah later said it was only a proposal, with any decision to be made by the PH presidential council.
Earlier this week, PH announced that it would back Anwar as its candidate for prime minister.
In his statement today, Mahathir said he and the five MPs would continue to support Shafie as prime minister candidate despite PH’s decision.
“Even though the PH presidential council has named Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister candidate, it does not involve me or my friends from PPBM or Warisan.”
He added that DAP and Amanah were the ones who had nominated Shafie with Anwar and Mukhriz as his deputies.
“My friends and I in PPBM agreed and supported the proposal because we wanted to resolve the impasse by choosing the right candidate who could get the support to return the people’s mandate.”
He said the meeting had resolved that he would make a statement on the matter, but that DAP and Amanah had changed their minds and backed Anwar instead.
“To us, nominating Shafie as prime minister is a positive step that must be taken,” he said.
“Not only do we trust that he can get the majority support needed, it is also a progressive step towards strengthening the ties between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak.”
Mahathir, who is Langkawi MP, also said they were against any efforts to replace the Dewan Rakyat speaker. He added that they would continue to push for a motion of no confidence against Muhyiddin.
“We still prioritise our original struggle to reject the return of a kleptocratic government,” he said.
The statement was also signed by Mukhriz (Jerlun), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar), Maszlee Malik (Simpang Renggam), Amiruddin Hamzah (Kubang Pasu) and Shahruddin Md Salleh (Sri Gading).
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