PKR Youth tells Mahathir not to stand in GE14

PKR Youth wants someone younger to be the opposition’s prime minister-designate, suggesting Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim be government advisers

(FMT) – PKR Youth wants former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to assure everyone that he will not contest in the next general election or offer himself as prime minister-designate.

PKR deputy youth chief Dr Afif Bahardin wants the veteran leader to make way for “vigour, charisma and new blood”.

Dr Afif said PKR Youth had the highest respect for Dr Mahathir for joining the opposition pact, but felt it was better for the “next generation” to take over Putrajaya.

He said PKR Youth respected its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim for staying out of contention for the post of prime minister if Pakatan Harapan (PH) were to win the 14th general election, but expressed sadness nevertheless.

His statements come in the wake of talk that Dr Mahathir would become interim PM if the opposition were to win in GE14, as its original PM-designate Anwar is currently in jail.

Dr Afif said: “We are saddened with Anwar’s stand to not offer himself as a PM candidate. We respect his decision but it also goes to shows how big-hearted he is, putting the ‘Reformasi’ agenda on top.

“We are also deeply respectful of Mahathir’s role in joining the Reformasi movement to face PM Najib Razak and BN.”

However, Dr Afif said, in order to “give space to future leaders with vigour and charisma to take charge of Putrajaya … we hope Mahathir can give us a commitment that he will not offer himself to contest, and at the same time offer himself to be PM-designate”.

He said Mahathir was best suited to hold an advisory role, together with Anwar, if the opposition were to wrest Putrajaya from BN.

In a statement on June 17, Anwar said PPBM had a proposal to reshuffle PH’s leadership structure with its own party leaders occupying the posts of chairman and president.

He said the idea was worrying as such a move would cause the coalition’s framework to be remodelled based on that of the BN.

“Therefore the readiness of all parties in PH to review and defer the proposal by maintaining the original consensus within PH is welcome,” he said.

PPBM joined PH on March 20. The original members of the coalition, PKR, DAP and Amanah, have all supported Anwar to be prime minister if the coalition takes over the government.

The Malay Mail Online reported on June 9 that PPBM had proposed that its leaders Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin Yassin be chairman and president respectively of PH. They are holding the very same designations in their own party.

PPBM deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir later confirmed that the party had an alternative proposal for the leadership lineup but declined to reveal details.

This was after the PKR congress on May 21 saw party delegates carrying placards that read “Anwar the 7th PM”. Among those who held up the cards were DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu.

However, Mahathir and Muhyiddin, who were present, refrained from doing so.

Anwar, the former opposition parliamentary leader, has been serving a five-year jail term for a controversial sodomy conviction since February 2015.