PETALING JAYA, Selangor: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim confirmed on Wednesday (Feb 26) that he has been nominated by Pakatan Harapan (PH) for the prime minister position.
PH's decision came about after Dr Mahathir Mohamad declined to attend its presidential council meeting, said Mr Anwar.
Senior PH leaders, including Mr Anwar, Demoractic Action Party's (DAP) Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara's (Amanah) Mohamad Sabu, were present when Mr Anwar made the announcement during a joint press conference at PKR's headquarters in Petaling Jaya.
"The Pakatan Harapan presidential council invited Tun Dr Mahathir to chair the meeting to revive the Pakatan Harapan coalition, but Tun did not agree to attend the meeting on Tuesday evening, Feb 25," said a PH statement read out by Mr Anwar.
"Hence, yesterday the presidential council decided to confirm that the Prime Minister nominee for Pakatan Harapan will be Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim."
During the press conference, Mr Anwar said that PH was working hard to protect the people's mandate since attempts have been made to topple the PH government.
"PH does not agree with any attempt to form a backdoor government," he added.
"Following attempts to form a backdoor government, Tun Dr Mahathir has stepped down as PM. The decision of Bersatu to leave Pakatan Harapan on Monday was followed by Tun's resignation as the chairman for Bersatu," Mr Anwar noted.
PH, a three-party coalition, has 92 federal lawmakers, comprising 42 MPs from DAP, 39 MPs from PKR and 11 members from Amanah.
There are 222 seats in the parliament, and the coalition looking to form a new government would need to have the support of at least 112 members of parliament.
Earlier on Wednesday, interim prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said he would choose “a way of governing that does not favour any parties”.
MPs from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) have expressed their support for Dr Mahathir to be prime minister.
Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia have called for parliament to be dissolved so that political parties can seek fresh mandate from the people.
"WE WILL RESPECT THE KING'S DECISION"
When asked if the PH coalition had enough numbers to form the government, Mr Anwar said that only Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah knew for sure.
"We have been invited to meet the King at Istana Negara … and now we await his decision which must be respected and adhered to by all parties in the country," said Mr Anwar.
All MPs were summoned to the palace on Tuesday and Wednesday to be interviewed by the king amid a power vacuum.
Lawmakers were reportedly asked if they would nominate a prime minister candidate or dissolve parliament and call for fresh polls.
Following the interviews, Malaysian media reported that PH would nominate Mr Anwar for the position.