Bangi — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says that the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Tun Mahathir Mohamad, will continue to be an important part of the government, and will still play the role of statesman after leadership changes hands.

Speaking to the press at the National Youth Council 2019 here on Wednesday, May 15, at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, the president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Port Dickson MP, said,

“Even if I take over the leadership, Dr Mahathir will still play a role as a statesman who has contributed a lot to the country.

Therefore, I do not see any issue in the matter.”

Mr Anwar had been asked to give a comment on the eve of the first anniversary of his release from prison on May 16, 2018, after the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition won in Malaysia’s General Election, toppling ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN) and then Prime Minister Najib Razak.

It was agreed by the members of the PH coalition that should PH win in the May 2018 GE, Mr Anwar would succeed Dr Mahathir as Prime Minister after two years.

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Regarding Dr Mahathir’s plan of succession, Mr Anwar had this to say, “I welcome it, and regarding the dates and others, let it be discussed between me and him in a good manner.
I have no problem at all as Dr Mahathir has a role and must be given space.”

However, Mr Anwar gave no specifics as to the succession plan of the Prime Minister.

According to Mr Anwar, he is thankful to have been released from prison, though the time has gone by quickly and he has been very busy. “Oh, it has been a year! I am grateful for the release and a year has passed by.

I am utilising my time to meet everyone at all stages from the district to those overseas and even meet my old friends and grassroots leaders, activists and non-governmental organisations.”

In the course of his conversation with the media, Mr Anwar also welcomed the suggestion from Dr Mahathir that all federal lawmakers and their families should declare their assets to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

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“The proposal must be accepted by the government as the government has the responsibility to be transparent, and the Opposition also raised it before. We must give our full support,” the Port Dickson MP said.

Mr Anwar was also asked for his opinion as to whether or not Cabinet ministers and politicians with government posts should be allowed to campaign during office hours.

He said it would be good to have a procedure set that will be fair for ministers, but that this issue should be discussed by the Election Commission (EC) and other parties involved.
“If you really open it totally then the ministers can just virtually spend all the time campaigning, which is also bad.

If they want to do that they should take leave. However, if they do it as part of a programme, then probably it is acceptable.

We need to discuss with the Election Commission and all the relevant stakeholders,” he added.

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In a statement released the same day, May 15, Bersih 2.0, an electoral watchdog, said that the EC should hold its ground in limiting campaigning by ministers, despite Dr Mahathir’s call for these deadlines to be relaxed, the Star Online reports. / TISG

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