Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reaffirmed that his successor will be Justice Party president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and not Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
Dr Mahathir also said he is committed to stepping down before the next general elections despite requests from some people that he should stay for a full term as PM.
Malaysians are getting almost daily updates on who will be the next prime minister with the opposition Umno and the Islamists suggesting Dr Mahathir remain in power.
The Justice Party is also divided on the issue, with Azmin Ali publicly voicing his support for Dr Mahathir to remain PM until the next GE.
But in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald in Bangkok, when asked if he would definitely pass the baton to Anwar instead of Azmin, Dr Mahathir replied, “Yes I will”.
“Although there are lots of other people who have been asking me to carry on until the next election – that is their view.
“My commitment is to step down before the next election, certainly, ” he said.
Yet again, Dr Mahathir refused to give a specific timeline for his quitting power and handing over to Anwar.
“I cannot say whether it is two years or three years, but I will certainly step down as I promised, ” said Dr Mahathir.
Pakatan Harapan took over the administration in Malaysia last year after defeating Barisan Nasional but the coalition’s reign has been rigged with speculation on who will be the next PM after Dr Mahathir.
Anwar saw competition from within his own party with Azmin given the role of hot favourite after he was placed under the wing of Dr Mahathir in a ministry created to give him superpowers in the Cabinet.
Yet amid much bickering over the succession plan, Dr Mahathir has now made it clear he does not intend to pass the baton to Azmin.
However, there is still speculation the opposition Umno is working out a deal with some Pakatan partners to throw the Democratic Action Party and the Amanah out of the coalition. The plan is to replace them with Umno and the Islamists from PAS. -/TISG