PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has alleged of a conspiracy within Pakatan Harapan (PH) to prevent him from succeeding Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.
In an interview with the Financial Times (FT), the Port Dickson MP asserted that it was a minor movement from his own coalition.
“There are pockets, people who for their own reasons would like to sabotage these arrangements”.
“I can’t deny, some people in the ruling coalition [have] a different agenda,” the former deputy prime minister told FT.
PH secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah disclosed this week that there was no formal agreement for Mahathir to yield the position to Anwar within two years as previously believed.
However, Anwar reiterated that he has faith in Mahathir’s sincerity in fulfilling the agreement.
“He has done it once [denied succession]; will he do it again? But I think circumstances have also changed,” Anwar was quoted saying in the FT interview.
He has since said that Dr Mahathir must be given the space to lead the country within the “agreed upon” duration.
Anwar did not identify those he believed to be part of the alleged conspiracy.
Within his own PKR, he has clashed with deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
In the FT report, Peter Mumford, the Asia director at Eurasia Group, asserted that Azmin also has ambitions for the prime minister’s post.
Lily Rahim, an associate professor of south-east Asian government and international relations at the University of Sydney, predicted that Mahathir would still be influential regardless of who succeeds him.
Yesterday, a group of veteran activists calling itself Otai Reformis claimed that there is a faction within PKR that is aligned to a movement that intends to block Anwar from becoming the next prime minister.
Its chairman Dr Idris Ahmad alleged that statements by some top PKR leaders, such as Azmin and Saifuddin, pointed to a possible conspiracy to keep Mahathir in power.
“We can see from the statements on Facebook…or even by a minister,” the PKR Ijok assemblyman told a press conference.
“Why are there suddenly comments [about the power transition] here and there, and this creates or suggests doubt over what has been agreed upon,” he added.
Otai Reformis said that a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia delegate’s proposition that Mahathir remains as prime minister until the end of the term was also the clearest clue of the purported move against Anwar.
Idris also pointed to Azmin’s criticism of Anwar’s decision to appoint leaders to key party positions openly, which he claimed was intended to taint the PKR president’s credibility.
Azmin said the appointments were undemocratic and did not reflect “genuine” sentiment from the grassroots.
“We would like to express our disappointment towards Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, the deputy president, for questioning the appointments of individuals for posts at the central level.
“Otai Reformis also opines that it was inappropriate for him to voice his disagreement through the media and not via the proper channel.”
Anwar did not respond directly to Azmin’s criticism but made what was seemingly a veiled attack against his deputy, urging him to focus on his job as economic affairs minister “instead of politicking”.
Otai Reformis will continue to speak up against attempts to derail Anwar’s ascendancy, Idris added.