PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Harapan has formally proposed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as its candidate for prime minister and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as his deputy.
The decision is the first confirmation that Dr Mahathir is on course to contest in the next general election.
But the decision, which was announced at the end of the coalition’s two-day retreat in Putrajaya, ran into opposition from some attendees.
PKR vice-president Tian Chua opposed the decision and refused to accept it as the final decision.
He said such an important matter should not be made by a few people and suggested that it be taken back to the respective parties for further discussion.
According to multiple sources, Pribumi Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman also sprang a surprise when he revealed that an internal poll showed that Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was a leading choice among leaders of the Youth wings.
The choice of Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah was apparently agreed upon by the top five leaders, or G5, of Pakatan on the sidelines of the retreat.
G5 refers to Pakatan chairman Dr Mahathir, president Dr Wan Azizah and deputy presidents Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamed Sabu.
Although Dr Wan Azizah was party to the decision, she said she would have to discuss the matter with the PKR leadership.
Pribumi vice-president Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman, who attended the retreat, said the majority of those present favoured Dr Mahathir.
“The public has to know who will run the country if we win.
“No matter how much you discuss, it will come back to the same thing – Mahathir knows the job.
“As for Wan Azizah, she is holding the mandate for Anwar,” said Abdul Rashid.
Syed Saddiq, in questioning why the Youth wing was not consulted on the decision, said Pakatan leaders liked to criticise Barisan Nasional but often acted like the people they criticised.
Pakatan Youth leaders, who met a day before the retreat, conducted a poll on their preferred candidate for prime minister.
Each of them was given two choices for the top post and Azmin garnered 12 votes against Dr Mahathir’s 11.
Dr Wan Azizah and Nurul Izzah Anwar got three votes each, while other names ended up with only a vote each.
The retreat, which was attended by more than 40 leaders from Parti Pribumi, DAP, PKR and Amanah, was to discuss outstanding issues ahead of the general election.