Shafie says only he and Anwar in contention for Opposition’s nod to be PM

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Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has previously remained silent on rumours that he was a candidate to be the next PM but it emerged today that Warisan would support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the condition he could secure the necessary numbers, failing which it would back their party president. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has previously remained silent on rumours that he was a candidate to be the next PM but it emerged today that Warisan would support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the condition he could secure the necessary numbers, failing which it would back their party president. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KOTA KINABALU, Aug 17 — Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the Opposition has decided that either he or the Pakatan Harapan chairman would be their nominee to be the next prime minister, depending on who could get the external support needed.

In an interview with Astro Awani, he said the Opposition has gathered all 105 federal lawmakers on their side for this purpose, which was still short of the 110 needed for a simple majority at the moment.

“We have decided we have two choices of names. Anwar’s and mine. Together we have 105 votes.

“So, whoever gets more votes outside of this, we will abide by the decision. If Anwar gets more, I will concede; likewise, if I get more votes, he has to support me,” said Mohd Shafie.

The 105 votes he was referring to were those in the Opposition that include DAP’s 42 seats, PKR’s 35, Amanah’s 11, Warisan’s eight, Pejuang’s four, Parti Sarawak Bersatu’s two, Upko’s one, and two independent MPs — Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman and Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik.

Both men will need to secure at least five more to be the prime minister.

A simple majority is usually 111 in the 220-seat Parliament but this was currently just 110 due to two vacancies that could not be filled due to the pandemic.

Mohd Shafie said this was the agreement was reached in discussions and both men must substantiate the external votes they claim to have secured, although it remains unclear how they will determine their individual support before they must submit their declarations on the matter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by tomorrow evening.

Other allies like DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu and PSB’s Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh were also in agreement.

“It was made with sincerity and I hope we can all abide by it,” Mohd Shafie said.

Mohd Shafie has previously remained silent on rumours that he was a candidate to be the next PM but it emerged today that Warisan would support Anwar on the condition he could secure the necessary numbers, failing which it would back their party president.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah summoned the various political party leaders for an audience at Istana Negara to find out who among the MPs commands the support of the majority among the 220 MPs.

Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun issued a notice this morning instructing the MPs to submit in writing to Istana Negara their candidate for the next prime minister.

The MPs have until 4pm tomorrow to do so.

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