JOHOR BARU: Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik, who joined PKR about two months ago, has not been ruled out as a candidate in the Johor election, says party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, who is also Pakatan Harapan chairman, was similarly non-committal about Maszlee, who is being investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, as the coalition’s candidate for the Johor mentri besar post.

“There has not been any official discussion within Pakatan on who will be the mentri besar as we are still finalising the candidates for the state election.

“However, we did not rule out any other candidate who can be pushed as mentri besar,” he told reporters after launching the PKR Youth election machinery here yesterday.

Asked whether Maszlee, who is a former education minister, would be contesting in the Layang Layang state seat, Anwar said the matter was still being considered.

He spoke about PKR’s practice of not “mixing” its parliament and state seat candidates.

“It is the party’s general policy but we do not want to be too rigid on it.”

He also said the candidates must be Johorean or have family ties in Johor.

“I, too, have family in the state,” he joked but rejected the idea of him standing in the state election.

Anwar said the party was expected to announce part of its election candidates by next week.

On discussions with Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) to ally with Pakatan for the state election, Anwar said the discussion was still ongoing.

“If we allocate seats to them, then PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) will have to give up some of the seats that we are contesting in the Johor election to Muda.

“It will depend on how many seats Muda is requesting, but since they have yet to announce anything, we would also not be making any announcement,” he added.