Dr M: Pakatan gave full confidence in me, transition date up to me

Azril Anwar
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad are seen during a press conference after the Pakatan Harapan President Council Meeting at Yayasan Perdana Foundation February 21, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 22 — The Pakatan Harapan presidential council has given its full confidence in Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to set the exact date to hand over the government to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Prime Minister Dr Mahahir said the council unanimously agreed to leave the time frame for the power transition to him, reiterating only that it will happen after the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in November.

“As I said, the power transition will happen after Apec. No time, no date, no nothing. After Apec,” he told reporters at the Perdana Leadrship Foundation here late last night after chairing a lengthy meeting behind closed doors with PH coalition leaders.

Asked if the plan was still for Anwar to be Malaysia’s eighth PM, Dr Mahathir emphatically said: “That doesn’t arise. The position is for me to make the decision after Apec.”

Asked what will happen if Dr Mahathir refuses to vacate his position after the summit, the 94-year-old simply said: “That’s up to me.”

His designated successor Anwar was also present at the same press conference and said that it was his idea that PH to fully support Dr Mahathir and allow him to govern the country as he sees fit.

Speculation had been rife among PKR members and Anwar supporters that their president was going to play hardball at the council meeting and demand the deputy prime ministership currently held by his wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Many of Anwar’s supporters have been demanding Dr Mahathir hand the reins of power to Anwar before November, in light of their pre-election promise made in 2018.

Anwar was seen to play it coy in demanding a definite date while some political pundits have claimed Dr Mahathir will never pass the baton to Anwar and that both should seek a compromise to the succession plan.  

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