PETALING JAYA • Malaysian opposition pact Pakatan Harapan has proposed former premier Mahathir Mohamad as its candidate for prime minister if it triumphs at the next general election, reported The Star.
The pact also decided that Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, wife of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, would be deputy prime minister.
However, the decision, which was announced at the end of the coalition's two-day retreat in Putrajaya last Saturday, is believed to have met with objections mainly from within Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Dr Wan Azizah's party.
According to The Malaysian Insight (TMI), which quoted an unnamed source, three of the parties within the pact - Tun Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), Parti Amanah Negara and Democratic Action Party - have agreed to these candidates, but PKR has yet to reach a consensus.
The news site noted that Dr Wan Azizah had agreed to the proposal in principle, but is facing opposition from a faction within her party.
"We have to defer the decision because PKR wants to discuss it in their political bureau (meeting)," said the source, as quoted by TMI.
Malaysiakini.com, another news site, reported that the decision at PKR will hinge on the approval of its de facto leader Anwar.
PKR had previously mooted an arrangement whereby an interim prime minister from the opposition pact could help secure Anwar's release from prison after it won the election, enabling Anwar to stand for a by-election and eventually become prime minister.
Anwar is serving a five-year term for sodomy, and is expected to be freed by the middle of next year. According to Malaysiakini, he still faces a five-year ban from politics after that.
Meanwhile, The Star reported that PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman had revealed an internal poll showing Selangor Menteri Besar and PKR deputy president Azmin Ali was the leading choice among the wing's leaders to be prime minister.
The retreat, attended by over 40 leaders from the four parties, discussed outstanding issues ahead of the national polls which must be held by August next year.
The leaders also agreed, said TMI's source, to finalise how constituency seats would be carved up among the parties by the end of this month.