Kuala Lumpur — The man slated to be the next Prime Minister, Mr Anwar Ibrahim, said on Tuesday (Jan 14) that he is satisfied that the incumbent, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, agrees that Pakatan Harapan’s Presidential Council will decide on when he leaves office.
Dr Mahathir had for the first time said earlier that day that he was prepared to relinquish the post immediately if the council urged him to do so.
Mr Anwar said that although Dr Mahathir had agreed on the principle, the matter of the latter’s departure as PM should be discussed and resolved amicably.
“As I had said before, it should be arranged properly as Mahathir is experienced and contributed a lot,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
“This is his volition (to let the Presidential Council decide), so it should not be interpreted negatively in any way,” he said.
Mr Anwar also insisted that all the coalition parties should let the Pakatan Harapan leadership discuss and decide without rush, adding that he would be against it if the timeline of the transition was rushed and disorderly.
Dr Mahathir had earlier said that all four parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition should decide on the leadership transition.
“I think this will be decided by all four (Harapan) parties together. Whether they want me to go or not to go.
“As far as I am concerned, if they want me to go now, I will go now,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Some members of PKR, a PH coalition party led by Mr Anwar, are saying that May 2020 should be the deadline, as agreed by the PH in January 2018.
They say the country needs a fresh push and that reforms need to be first on the coalition’s agenda.
Several PKR MPs are also complaining that the people who wrote the Pakatan manifesto for the 2018 general election had been sidelined. They believe this is the main reason why the country’s reform agenda is in a shambles.
They want Dr Mahathir to make way for Mr Anwar in order for the PKR leader to fulfill the promises made in the manifesto.
In addition, some bad election results, including a massive by-election defeat in Tanjong Piai, Johor, last year, have led to some panic among Pakatan leaders and MPs.
In that by-election, the PH candidate lost by more than 15,000 votes to the candidate from the Malaysian Chinese Association, a component party of the opposition Barisan Nasional.
This has since become a wake-up call for many Pakatan members.
Dr Mahathir has never been so clear in his intention to quit, always playing with words and implying one thing or another when asked about it. Last month, he said that he would quit and hand over power to Mr Anwar after the Apec Summit in Malaysia in November this year.