Prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim says the Pakatan Harapan presidential council should decide the leadership transition, urging all parties to stop speculating.
In a report published by The Malaysian Insight portal, Anwar is quoted as saying the transition date should be the subject of a harmonious discussion between Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and him.
“There are views that the transition date should be set, but as agreed it is a matter for discussion between the prime minister and me, or the PH presidential council.
“It should be discussed in a cordial manner and this does not need to be sensationalised,” he said to reporters who have been hounding both Anwar and Dr Mahathir on the issue for months.
Two members of Anwar’s party, the PKR, recently said they wanted a confirmed departure date from Dr Mahathir, who agreed to hand power to Anwar. But Dr Mahathir has resisted the need for a timeline, saying he will become a lame-duck PM if he agreed to such a timeline.
Dr Mahathir did little to curb the speculation over his resignation date and has pushed his potential resignation date from two years to three years and beyond.
This has frustrated many in the PKR and the Pakatan Harapan which is divided on whether Dr Mahathir should remain PM or he should quit within an agreed two-year term.
Anwar tried to allay fears among PKR members that there may be efforts to derail the transition.
“The concerns are that there are outsiders trying to derail the transition. I don’t think this will change views on the country’s issues.”
For most of last year, talks of blocking Anwar rocked the Pakatan from becoming PM. His own party is divided on the issue, with some top guns and ministers supporting Dr Mahathir to remain as PM until the end of the parliamentary term, or 5 years.
In December, Dr Mahathir said he would hand over power to Anwar after this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in November.
This sparked speculation Dr Mahathir is not ready to let Anwar take over and is planning to stay on as PM.
Many in the PKR, including Anwar, had earlier said they expect Dr Mahathir to relinquish the post to Anwar in May this year.-/TISG