KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today he will not offer himself to become Pakatan Harapan's candidate for prime minister, even as Opposition leaders continue to endorse him as “the country’s seventh prime minister”.
In a statement, the jailed Opposition leader said that debates around the issue was “tiring” as such a decision should be in the hands of voters.
“In light of the call to focus completely on the next general election, I have chosen not to offer myself as candidate for prime minister,” he said in a statement.
This comes as Anwar’s former nemesis Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has again expressed readiness to be the Opposition pact’s prime minister, although with a caveat that the decision should be unanimous among its member parties.
In an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review last week, the country's longest-serving prime minister appeared to note Anwar's insistence the position must not be unilaterally filled, following Dr Mahathir's initial “offer” to take up the post if necessary.
Anwar also rejected today Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia's (PPBM) proposal for Pakatan Harapan's presidential council line-up, saying that it mirrored Barisan Nasional's (BN) structure.
“Pakatan Harapan must maintain its tradition on consensus as practiced during Pakatan Rakyat's time.
“All party chiefs should have an equal position with the chairman merely as a delegator,” he said.
Last week, PPBM proposed that its leaders Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin be appointed Pakatan Harapan’s chairman and president, with PKR’s Anwar as adviser.
In PPBM’s proposal for the official Pakatan Harapan presidential council lineup, the less-than-a-year-old party suggested that PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail be the Opposition pact’s deputy chair, PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali as Pakatan Harapan deputy president, and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu as the coalition’s vice presidents.
Pakatan Harapan’s initial proposal had placed Dr Wan Azizah as chair of the federal Opposition coalition, together with Muhyiddin, Mohamad and Lim as the vice chairmen.
PPBM only officially joined Pakatan Harapan in March. The coalition is planning to formally register with the Registrar of Societies, ahead of the 14th general election due by August next year.