Masing: Shafie as PM a Ploy to Deny Top Job to Anwar

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Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing has said Dr Mahathir Mohamad had nominated Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal as Pakatan Harapan’s prime minister candidate to deny Anwar Ibrahim the post.

He said this was merely a ploy to get Sarawak and Sabah to support his hidden political agenda.

“I know that Shafie is a good and capable leader, but Dr Mahathir should not take Sabahans and Sarawakians for fools by proposing the Sabahan leader to be the prime minister after the 15th general election (GE15).”

“There is no way peninsular Malaysian voters would accept Shafie as the prime minister,” Masing was quoted as saying.

“Dr Mahathir’s strategy is simple – if I can’t get it nor can you,” he added, referring to Anwar Ibrahim and Muhyiddin Yassin, who is currently the prime minister.

Masing wondered if Dr Mahathir was joking about his choice for the post.

“Shafie as the prime ministerial candidate and Anwar as the deputy prime minister?

“Was Dr Mahathir joking? I hope he (Dr Mahathir) was awake when he issued that statement, otherwise that suggestion is the joke of the century.

“The proposal to administer Malaysia must be done beyond mere dreaming,” Masing was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir confirmed in a statement that Shafie has been unanimously endorsed as PH’s prime minister candidate by DAP, Amanah, and Warisan.

The three parties and the former prime minister also agreed that Anwar and Mukhriz Mahathir, Dr Mahathir’s son, would be deputy prime ministers, Dr Mahathir said in a statement today.

“We have agreed to name Shafie as our candidate for prime minister,” he said in a statement that bore only his signature.

The agreement was reached at what Dr Mahathir called an informal meeting between the nonagenarian leader with Amanah, Warisan and DAP at the Sabah Guesthouse in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.

Those attending were Shafie, who is also Warisan president, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, DAP chairman Tan Kok Wai, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and other party leaders Anthony Loke, M Kulasegaran and Liew Chin Tong.

Dr Mahathir said they decided to nominate Shafie for prime minister as the Sabah leader was opposed to the kleptocratic government led by former prime minister Najib Razak and had been one of his victims.

“Shafie was one of Najib’s early victims sacked as Umno vice-president when he could not accept the corruption done via the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.

Dr Mahathir also said that the relationship between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak will improve if they succeed.

Separately, Sarawak’s People Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) president Lina Soo described Dr Mahathir’s naming of Shafie as the eighth prime minister as a strange proposal.

“He has forgotten that he has no power to decide who can be the prime minister of Malaysia,” she said, stressing that such power lies absolutely with the King.

She said according to Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution the Agong shall appoint an MP whom His Majesty believes commands the majority support of his peers as Prime Minister.

“He has also no power to decide who our deputy prime minister can be when there is no provision even in our Constitution for the position of deputy prime minister, let alone two, of which one is to include his son,” Soo said.

“If Dr Mahathir wishes to throw the cat amongst the pigeons with his call for Shafie to be the next prime minister, it is not likely it will make any splash,” she said, adding that the people are now accustomed to his eccentricities in his bid to hold on to power.

“After all, it was Mahathir and him alone who betrayed the people by resigning as prime minister in February, paving the way for the new Perikatan Nasional (PN) regime.

“What is even more bewildering now is that when the country is facing the Covid-19 pandemic and economic desperation, his only obsession is with the prime minister’s post, his politician son, and playing political parties against each other,” she said.

Soo, however, supports Shafie to be the prime minister if it only means to relocate one million illegal immigrants from Sabah to Kedah and Penang, return Labuan island back to Sabah and restore all Sarawak and Sabah’s rights over oil and gas.