PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An emergency meeting of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) on Friday (June 19) has decided that it will support only the proposal for its president Anwar Ibrahim to be the prime ministerial candidate for Pakatan Harapan (PH).
PKR has rejected the return of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the coalition's candidate.
In a statement issued after a meeting via video conferencing, the PKR leadership and party MPs said the party would not support any proposal for Dr Mahathir to be made the prime minister again.
"The PKR supreme council held a special meeting with PKR MPs today. The problem arose as Dr Mahathir had stated that he wants to return as prime minister for the third time.
"PKR is open to discussions with all parties including Dr Mahathir, in its efforts to save Malaysia and return the mandate of the people to its rightful place.
"However, PKR has decided not to support the proposal of Dr Mahathir as the (ninth) Prime Minister and sticks to the Pakatan consensus of proposing Anwar as PM," read the statement by the PKR supreme council and PKR MPs.
The co-called "Pakatan Plus" alliance of some 107 or 108 MPs has been torn over who to put forward as its prime ministerial candidate to help its push to return to power.
PKR has 38 MPs including Datuk Seri Anwar, and without its support, PH cannot mount a bid to topple the three-month-old government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
On the flip side, 14 federal lawmakers - nine from Parti Warisan Sabah and the five rogue MPs from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, including Dr Mahathir himself - are keen to have Dr Mahathir as the candidate for PM to topple the Muhyiddin-led Perikatan Nasional alliance.
Perikatan Nasional has around 113 MPs - just a shade above the minimum 112 lawmakers in Parliament needed to control the House.
PKR in its statement said the party appreciates the fact that its fellow PH component parties Democratic Action Party and Parti Amanah Negara support Mr Anwar as the next PM.
"PKR will focus all efforts and preparations on the possibility of a snap election at any time soon," it said.
PKR also said that it will uphold the Federal Constitution and the rights of the Malay Rulers as well as protect the rights of the Malays and the bumiputeras of Sabah and Sarawak.