Anwar cannot be PM because unpopular with Malays: Mahathir

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - As the deadlock for Pakatan Harapan’s choice of Prime Minister continues, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says again that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is not a suitable candidate because the PKR president is not popular with the Malays.

Dr Mahathir said this during an interview with CNBC to a question on why he would not hand down the reins to Anwar despite saying otherwise in 2019.

“Well, he is not very popular with the Malays. Now, it has been shown that the support of the Malays is very important for any party to win the election.

“Because he is not popular, being the leader of a multiracial party, he needs somebody who’s the leader of the Malays to win this election.

“With myself as candidate for prime minister, I think we would get the support of the Malays,” said Dr Mahathir in the interview published on Wednesday (June 1).

Dr Mahathir said in the past three general elections, Anwar had failed to get Malay votes.

“It was only when I joined we managed to win. And this is an achievement, because for 60 years, the government has been the same party.

“This was the first time that change was achieved,” he said.

Dr Mahathir and Anwar's factions are now embroiled in a standoff over Pakatan’s choice for Prime Minister.

On Tuesday (June 30), Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) communications director Khalid Abdul Samad had said that Parti Warisan Sabah chief Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal's candidacy as Pakatan’s prime minister was set to be deliberated by the coalition’s presidential council at the soonest available time.

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DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also said that Pakatan’s choice for prime minister must have the consensus of all its coalition partners.

The headcount of MPs in PKR stood at 39, DAP at 42, Amanah at 11.

Dr Mahathir has the support of four former Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) MPs and nine Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) MPs led by Shafie Apdal.

He had recently proposed Shafie’s name to be prime minister in bid to end the deadlock and to garner support from MPs from Sabah and Sarawak.

However, that proposal was not only criticised by factions aligned to Anwar but Opposition MPs from Sabah and Sarawak as well.

Shafie had said that while he was grateful for being named, he needed to consult his party colleagues first.