Cracks appear deepening uncertainty in Malaysia’s PM transition plan

Analysts believe the absence of a timeline with a solid departure date for Dr M presents a high political risk and might impact business confidence

YouTube screebgrab/ Full Interview with Malaysia’s Anwar Ibrahim

The Pakatan Harapan transition plan being discussed at the highest level of the ruling coalition is showing cracks at various levels, sparking claim by opponents that the government’s days are numbered.

Despite reassurances from both Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PM in waiting Anwar Ibrahim that everything is smooth and under control, some Pakatan MP’s are asking for a date of departure from Dr Mahathir.

The MP for Kapar, Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid reportedly asked Dr Mahathir when he will give way to Anwar.

Dr Mahathir has confirmed he will resign in time to hand over power to Anwar but both leaders has refrained from setting a date, though Pakatan appears to have agreed for a two year tenure for the former Umno leader.

Political and economic analysts have warned that the coalition is taking a big risk in failing to state a departure date for Dr Mahathir as this loophole fuels uncertainties and may sap the confidence of investors and impact business sentiments aside from adding political risks.

Supporters of Bersatu, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad party are also trading barbs with Anwar’s party members.

Dr Mahathir’s political secretary Muhammad Zahid Md Arip blasted the Kapar MP saying such statements are making people uneasy in the coalition, adding that these are ‘desperate’ people who are putting pressure on the PM.

He says such plots will not end and will continue with the aim to put more pressure on the PM to quit.

In a post on Youtube, he says there was a time when not many would respond to such calls (for Dr M to set a timeline) but now it has become a public affair.

On Wednesday, Mahathir’s media adviser A Kadir Jasin confirmed that PH had agreed on a transition plan before the general elections last year and that Anwar will replace Dr Mahathir.

But he also said that Anwar should not repeat the mistakes of 1998. In September of that year, the latter was fired as Deputy PM and sent to jail with a black eye and this sparked rallies with reformasi calls across Kuala Lumpur.

Other Bersatu leaders are showing signs of nervousness advising PKR members not to talk too much about leadership change, basically asking them kowtow to what they call ‘the people’s choice’ as PM.

But PKR members are not going to rest on their laurels as the fight will continue within the corridors of power for leadership change.

Many believe the reform agenda is not a priority under the leadership of Dr Mahathir, saying only Anwar can push forward real change in Malaysia.

-/TISG