KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Despite having party leaders present during an informal meeting that ended with Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s nomination as the Opposition’s prime ministerial candidate, DAP and Amanah say the matter is not yet a foregone decision.
A joint statement by the two parties signed by Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng acknowledged Shafie’s nomination as announced and endorsed by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad just hours earlier today.
However, both Mohamad and Lim said a decision has not been finalised as the proposal must first be deliberated by their respective parties’ central committee as well as the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council.
“Amanah and DAP are of the view that it gives a new option to realise the efforts to return the Rakyat’s mandate that was given to the combination of Pakatan Harapan and Warisan in the past 14th General Election.
“However, the proposal must first be discussed at the central leadership level of both Amanah and DAP and then be brought to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting where it can be collectively decided,” they said in a statement released this evening.
Shafie is also the president of Parti Warisan Sabah, and would be the first East Malaysian Prime Minister should he be successful in wrestling back Putrajaya from Perikatan Nasional, as Dr Mahathir and PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim reached a stalemate over each other’s candidacy as prime minister.
In a separate statement, Sabah DAP disclosed that they were behind the proposal to name Shafie as the prime minister.
The state DAP chapter said the move could mean Sabah and Sarawak no longer have to worry about the implementation of the Malaysian Agreement 1963, or worry about being marginalised in federal development budgets.
“We foresee that with Shafie at helm, there will be a speedy resolution to the oil royalty issues and petroleum cash payments, oil minerals and oil fields, reviewing of the Territorial Sea Act 2012 [Act 750], and state rights over the continental shelf, all of which previous and current Prime Ministers from Peninsula Malaysia were not able to agree to.
“We hereby urge all East Malaysian Members of Parliaments, to rally support behind Shafie to make history of Malaysia — by having the first Prime Minister Malaysia from the east,” read a statement signed by 11 Sabah DAP MPs and assemblymen.
The names included the state DAP’s acting chairman and Tanjong Papat assemblyman Frankie Poon Ming Fung, secretary and Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, vice-chair Noorita Sual, women’s wing chief Jannie Lasimbang, and Sandakan MP Vivian Wong Shir Yee.
Sabah DAP said the appointment of Shafie would “kill two birds with one stone” by first having an East Malaysian lead federal policymaking, while reinstating Sabah and Sarawak state rights.
They urged the DAP central executive committee to seriously consider the proposal.
In a leaked video that he later confirmed in a statement, Dr Mahathir today said he now supports Shafie as the next prime minister for the PH Plus coalition and is withdrawing from the race.
He said the decision to name Shafie was a collective decision during an informal meeting at the Ruman Tetamu Sabah here two days ago with leaders from DAP, Amanah, and Parti Warisan Sabah.
Notably absent were representatives from PKR, whose president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in a stalemate with Dr Mahathir over the choice of the PH Plus coalition’s prime minister candidate.
Dr Mahathir had said the others present during Thursday’s meeting agreed that Shafie was a suitable candidate as he is a staunch believer against kleptocracy, having been one of the “earliest victims” of the Najib government prior to GE14.
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