Race for opposition top post down to Wan Azizah, Dr Mahathir

Chan Kok Leong

PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (right) and Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad (centre) are expected to lead the opposition charge at GE14. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, June 21, 2017.

THE race for the top position in Pakatan Harapan has come down to PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail or Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad.‎

This follows the decision by Anwar Ibrahim to take his name out of consideration for leadership position in the opposition coalition. 

The Malaysian Insight has learnt that Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia (Bersatu) president Muhyiddin Yassin has also taken himself out of reckoning for the president’s position in PH before Anwar’s announcement.

He did so ‎‎“to help speed up the process” of finalising the list of office-bearers in the coalition, a task that has become more tricky and acrimonious than anticipated.

When PH decided to register as a coalition with the Registrar of Societies (RoS), the coalition had three things on its must-do list.

A PH insider said: “The three items were the logo, the constitution and list of office-bearers. The logo was the easiest while the last two have proven to be a challenge”.

The source said PH prepared several sets of constitution to go with the different office-bearers.

“But we can’t seem to move past the office-bearers. As such, Anwar’s withdrawal has come at a timely stage. It’s a signal that all the parties – PKR, DAP, Bersatu and Amanah – should just move on.

“Anwar, however, will not be left out as he is still an important leader for the opposition. It’s just that for now at least, he has to be adviser.”

On Saturday, Anwar issued a statement from jail, urging PKR, DAP, Amanah and Bersatu to focus on working together to defeat Prime Minister Najib Razak and Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election (GE14).

He was dismayed over attempts to turn the opposition pact into a mirror of BN, with one political party having a bigger say on matters than the other component parties. 

‎In the statement, Anwar also said he has chosen not to offer himself as a candidate for the prime minister.

Pressure to name PM

The source added that when they mooted the idea of forming PH, they did not envisage that the list of office-bearers would have the same status as a shadow cabinet line-up.

But over the past month, the pressure to name a candidate for prime minister has become the top priority.

“After talking to various supporters and stakeholders, we now know the importance of putting someone in front to lead the charge against Barisan Nasional during the next elections.”

When asked if PH has set a new deadline to finalise the list after failure to meet last Friday’s deadline, the source said: “Soon, I hope”. – June 21, 2017.

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