Anwar tells why PH is negotiating with Dr M on Slim by-election

(FMT) – PKR president Anwar Ibrahim today explained that Pakatan Harapan was negotiating with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the Slim by-election to avoid splitting opposition votes.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the PKR information convention in Ampang here, Anwar said Mahathir had voiced an interest in placing a candidate for the by-election.

“We don’t want a split among the opposition. He (Mahathir) is not in PH but we don’t want him to say we took action without negotiating, so we will negotiate first and meet them.”

He said this did not mean that PH was giving way to Mahathir’s faction to contest the Perak state seat.

“If he wants to contest, then we will take it to PH for a decision,” he said, adding that PKR information chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin was representing PH in the negotiations and would submit a report on Tuesday.

Former PPBM secretary-general Marzuki Yahya had said Mahathir’s group would be fielding a candidate after a PH presidential council representative said they would not be contesting.

This claim was refuted by Anwar yesterday. He also said PKR had a list of candidates although no decisions had been made.

Before this, Perak PKR chief Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizal Mubarak had said the party would place a local candidate for the seat.

The Slim by-election was triggered by the death of its incumbent, Khusairi Abdul Talib, following a heart attack earlier this month.

Today, Anwar said that PH continued to support Sabah Chief Minister Shafie Apdal amid talk of defections in the state.

He also said that PKR was ready for a snap general election should one be called but said the current climate was not conducive for one due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his speech earlier, Anwar called on PKR leaders and members to stay true to the party’s struggle for justice for all and to work hard on the ground.

“When we stray from our struggles, we are no longer upholding PKR’s agenda. Our stand is clear, we must uphold it with confidence, conviction and must not compromise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Selangor PKR chief Amirudin Shari said the state remained a PKR fortress despite a number of defections by former top leaders.

“Not one division has been paralysed after the betrayal,” he said.

Amirudin said now was the right time for the party to move on and while it was fine to speak up against the betrayal it suffered, PKR must tell the people of its successes and plans.

“We focus on what we have done,” he said, citing measures the state government took to combat Covid-19 and cushion its impact on the economy.