Anwar says ‘no problem’ if Hadi made PM

Nomy Nozwir, The Malaysian Insider

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim responded positively today to calls from PAS members for their party president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang to be prime minister should Pakatan Rakyat (PR) win the coming polls, saying the proposal could be discussed.

The veteran politician, whose ambitions for the post is no secret, did not waver when approached by The Malaysian Insider for his response to the suggestion made yesterday by members of PAS’s ulama wing.

“No problem, kita boleh bincang dengan baik (we can discuss this amicably),” Anwar said.

During debates at the muktamar yesterday, a delegate from the party’s ulama wing made a surprise proposal for Abdul Hadi to take on the prime minister’s post instead of Anwar.

Hairun Nizam, who made the suggestion during his turn at debates, said the PAS president was the “best person” to lead the country.

In response, the delegate earned enthusiastic shouts of “takbir” from the over 1,000 gathered for the annual meet here.

“I’d like to ask the delegates — who is the best person to lead the Malaysian government if not for Tuan Guru president?” he asked.

“This is not for the sake of revering him, but he is the most qualified person to become the next prime minister… and we, as protégés of an Islamic party, should not campaign for others to take on the post,” he added.

Hairun’s suggestion and the resounding support of party delegates contradicts the stand taken by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leadership, which has repeatedly endorsed its de facto leader Anwar for the post of prime minister.

During the pact’s mammoth Himpunan Merdeka Rakyat rally in the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium here on Friday, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had reaffirmed this stand, declaring that PR parties DAP, PKR and PAS were united in selecting Anwar to replace Umno’s Datuk Seri Najib Razak should the pact wrest federal power in the next general election.

“Anwar will be the seventh prime minister, not the sixth,” he told the tens of thousands gathered at the venue.

The veteran politician said the stand was taken to “save” the country from the spread of corruption.

PR parties have repeatedly had to reaffirm their endorsement of Anwar as prime minister-designate to deflect criticisms from their political foes in Barisan Nasional (BN) that they were unable to achieve consensus on numerous issues.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek recently said that PR was unfit to rule the country due to the numerous conflicts among the pact’s three parties, pointing out that while some leaders have touted Anwar as prime minister, others have also said that the opposition leader was not the only qualified candidate for the post.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Anwar admitted that the coming 13th general election may be his last shot at power, saying that he may quit politics if PR fails in its bid to claim Putrajaya.

The influential business newspaper had noted that Anwar seemed tired for a man facing his best shot yet of governing a 28 million multiracial population fed-up with over half a century of BN rule that appears unable to reform politically, socially and economically.