Anwar: Dr M Said Announcing Retirement Date Will Make Him Lame-Duck PM

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Amid continued speculation if Anwar Ibrahim would succeed Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the PKR president appealed to all quarters to stop asking the prime minister when he would step down.

The Port Dickson MP added that Mahathir told him that if he announced his retirement date, he would become a lame-duck prime minister.

“Mahathir has repeated his words (a promise to step down)… Sometimes, he says in a year, two years or three years and Mahathir is perceived as evading.

“I am saying no. I am the prime minister in waiting but people continue to ask (this question) at every press conference, including CNN… Give him time and (allow him) to continue (his work).

Lim Huey Teng/Malaysiakini

“This is what he told me, and I appreciate it. He said, ‘Anwar, I have promised, and I would keep my word. But don’t be like this – force me, make me announce the date because I would become a lame-duck prime minister,” he said during a question and answer session in Kuala Lumpur this evening.

Anwar said there is a written agreement regarding the succession plan, which was clearly spelt out ahead of the last general election.

Furthermore, he added that it is unfair to Mahathir, the nation and himself if the speculation about the transition does not cease.

Although both leaders give the impression that their relationship and the succession plan remain intact, their supporters, however, have been at each other’s throats.

Earlier today, a staunch supporter of Mahathir, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, claimed that Anwar is unfit to lead the nation and vowed to expose his true character when the time comes.

Previously, PKR founding member Syed Husin Ali accused Mahathir of delaying the succession plan after the 94-year-old leader said he would remain in office for a maximum of three years.

Mahathir’s statement that he cannot guarantee his successor would be able to manage the nation well also ruffled the feathers of Anwar’s supporters.

Following Syed Husin’s criticism of Mahathir, Khairuddin warned that he might mount a campaign to prevent Anwar from becoming the next prime minister.

He said the nation could witness a repeat of the 1998 episode when Mahathir, during his first tenure as prime minister, axed Anwar as his number two.

Speculation had been rife that Mahathir and his associates prefer PKR deputy president Azmin Ali to become the next prime minister, but a recent sex video scandal might have scuttled this plan.

In August, the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) president Tan Cheng Kiat pointed out that excessive politicking is distracting the government from concentrating on the economy.

He also emphasised the need for a clear transition plan to boost investor confidence as well as to provide clarity and confidence to the business community. – Malaysiakini