The calls for Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to make way for Mr Anwar Ibrahim are gaining momentum in Malaysia.
Some senior Democratic Action Party politicians have now turned on the heat for him to leave as soon as possible.
The DAP is the second biggest party in the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition. Mr Anwar’s PKR is the biggest. Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu party and the Islamist-splinter group, Amanah, are the other components.
The DAP politicians are urging the PH Presidential Council to set a clear date for Dr Mahathir’s departure and for Mr Anwar to take the helm.
The DAP MP for Klang, Mr Charles Santiago, says that, since Dr Mahathir has entrusted the council with the task of deciding on his tenure, it should not delay it. “The ball, as they say, is now in the Presidential Council’s court. We will wait to hear from them.”
The MP did not mince words when he asked Dr Mahathir to agree on a date for him to step down. He added that the Prime Minister was aware the sentiment on the ground had shifted against him.
“His people, who monitor social media platforms, must have told him the rakyat are asking him to go gracefully.
“But since Mahathir has openly said he will abide by the council’s decision, they (the council) must politely accept his offer of resignation.
“Of course it can’t happen pronto, but setting a clear date will help not just with political stability but also boost investor confidence,” he says.
The MP’s statement, however, runs contrary to the position of DAP leader and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who says there is no need for a meeting to decide on Dr Mahathir’s future.
On the other hand, Kelantan DAP chairman Zaid Ibrahim insists the “ball is in the Presidential Council’s court” and that the coalition leaders should meet soon. He says that, as Dr Mahathir has said he will step down if Pakatan asks him to, there should not be any delay in responding to the statement.
He says Dr Mahathir’s statement shows he is “an honourable man …” and that “he will not overstay, even a single day if not wanted by his coalition just as he will not take an extra mouthful when he is nearly satiated”.
Mr Zaid, however, warns about rumours circulating that Dr Mahathir wants to stick around until 2022 and that some ministers are fighting for him to remain in power.