A group of NGOs that supports clear and transparent running of the country’s affairs including fair elections want a transition plan for Anwar Ibrahim to take over as Prime Minister by 2021.
The group which includes Bersih 2.0 and the powerful Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Abim), want the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to set a clear timeline.
The group, in an open letter to Dr Mahathir, says Anwar must become deputy Prime Minister for six months before the power transfer date for the sake of political stability.
“The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), together with Abim and Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia (GBM), hereby calls on Dr Mahathir and the leadership of Pakatan Harapan to take clear and decisive steps to bring about political stability in the country by putting in place a clear transition plan based on their pre-GE14 agreement.
“The current feud in PKR, a major component party of the Pakatan coalition, is causing much concern among both our citizens and the international community as it has the potential to break up the coalition and cast our nation into political disarray, ” the group said in an open letter issued at a press conference today.
The group is calling on Dr Mahathir to set a date, somewhere between a year from now to the latest date being May 9, 2021, to hand over power to Parti Keadilan Rakyat or the Justice Party president Anwar.
It said that this was in accordance with the pre-GE14 agreement among the Pakatan component parties.
Anwar’s party went through turmoil lately with a clear challenge against his leadership. He won the trust of the party’s division heads but lost the shine with supporters of his long-time collaborator Azmin Ali.
Azmin is a powerful minister in Dr Mahathir’s cabinet and backs Dr Mahathir to remain PM for the next four years, which is a shocking move for local observers.
However, Anwar’s win in the leadership tussle in the Justice Party has clipped Azmin’s and his supporters wings for now.
In the long open letter to Dr Mahathir, the group of NGOs say the PM has said himself his tenure will be between two to three years. They want him to make good on his word with a definite timeline.
Analysts have said the lack of such a timeline is not good for investment and for the economy. They say it undermines investor confidence in Malaysia.
“With a clear and publicly known transition plan, it would quash rumours and conspiracy theories perpetrated by those who seek to gain from the instability and see the break-up of the coalition, ” said the group.
The group also say the Pakatan Presidential Council should also limit the premiership to a tenure of two terms and de-concentrate the power of the Prime Minister.
There is also fear among reformasi supporters and Pakatan members that Dr Mahathir giving in to calls not to quit his post soon and to stay in power until 2023.
Some Pakatan leaders have also said Anwar will need enough time to build his Prime Ministership in order to bring the ruling coalition to victory in the next general elections.
They say Dr Mahathir extending his stay is unfair to Anwar and unfair to the elderly statesman who is under a tough daily schedule. -/TISG