KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim is back as Pakatan Harapan's (PH) choice of candidate for the prime minister post, as talk of a snap poll heats up in Malaysia.
In a joint statement on Monday (Jul 6), the opposition coalition said it is committed to its original stance that Mr Anwar should take over the top post if it recaptures Putrajaya.
"The presidential council is in the opinion that efforts needed to be made in order to restore the people's mandate, and this requires support from all parties.
"As such, the council gives full mandate to Anwar Ibrahim to continue discussions with all parties, including Shafie Apdal, towards that end," the statement read.
Mr Shafie is Sabah's chief minister and Parti Warisan Sabah's president. The statement is jointly issued by Mr Anwar, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
Currently, PH is in opposition, having been replaced by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) in late February when Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and several PKR Members of Parliament shifted their allegiance and joined forces with the formerly ousted Barisan Nasional.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in as the country's eighth prime minister.
As PH prepared to reclaim federal power, it was plagued by disagreement over its choice of prime minister candidate among the top leadership, particularly between Mr Anwar and former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Dr Mahathir had offered to be prime minister again before handing over the position to Mr Anwar, but PKR was not in favour of the proposal.
Following that, Dr Mahathir had named Mr Shafie as PH's prime minister of choice. Under this proposal, Mr Anwar and Dr Mahathir's son Mr Mukhriz Mahathir would serve as deputy prime ministers.
PH's Monday statement has officially put this proposal to rest.
GROWING CALLS FOR SNAP POLL
In its statement, PH also called on both federal and state governments to focus on post-pandemic assistance for the citizens.
As such, it said the PH state governments - Penang, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan - would not be dissolved if a snap election were to be called. The next general election is due by 2023.
There has been growing calls from both sides of the political divide for Mr Muhyiddin to hold a general election as questions linger over whether he commands an effective majority in parliament.
Last week, United Malays National Organisation and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia said they have agreed to continue supporting Mr Muhyiddin as prime minister in the next general election.
On Jul 5, Senior Minister Azmin Ali, who was formerly with PKR, was reported as saying that the Muhyiddin government might call for snap polls as early as this year or 2021.
The PN government led by Mr Muhyiddin had overcome political, economic and public health crises brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.