KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has been warned by a senior DAP lawmaker to be respectful of the opposition Pakatan Harapan's decision to name jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as its prime ministerial candidate in the next general election.
The Democratic Action Party's (DAP) Klang Member of Parliament Charles Santiago said that parties in the alliance had been championing Anwar's issues for many years as the opposition, reported The New Straits Times.
"Today, he (Mahathir) is working with Pakatan Harapan to bring down the Barisan Nasional government. But that doesn't give him the criteria to be the prime minister or name a prime minister... You're the new kid on the block so you must be respectful of Pakatan Harapan's decision, which we have voiced for the past few years that Anwar is our prime minister candidate," he said when contacted.
He was responding to a blog post by former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, who said he would nominate Dr Mahathir as prime minister "simply because he is the best for the job".
Mr Santiago said: "Until now, Pakatan Harapan believes that Anwar's jail sentence was politically motivated and even Amnesty International described Anwar as a prisoner of conscience... Maybe Zaid wants Dr Mahathir to be the prime minister but to me, that doesn't make sense because Dr Mahathir is 92 years old (this year) and he was the prime minister for 22 years."
The controversy erupted after all Pakatan Harapan leaders at Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR) national congress in Shah Alam yesterday held up placards saying, "Anwar as the 7th PM", with the exception of Dr Mahathir and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Mr Zaid in his blog also said the leaders' action showed "their lack of respect to both Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin who were present".