PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has rebuffed claims that he is impatient for the prime minister post.
In an interview with radio station BFM this morning, former PM Dr Mahathir’s Mohamad’s reported comments of him being “crazy” for the premiership were put to him.
“Who is crazy to continue to be PM at the age of 90 or 95?” Anwar asked in response.
In the 14th General Election, Mahathir had come out of retirement and led Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition to electoral victory and became prime minister a second time at the age of 93 years.
Throughout the interview, Anwar was asked several times about his thoughts on the premiership.
He shared how he had often been the leader of the opposition over the years and thus its PM candidate in past general elections.
As for the foiled transition plan for him to succeed Mahathir as the eighth PM, Anwar said he accepted what had happened and was cognizant of the forces against him ascending to the role.
“I’ve got enemies in the big-timers, the corrupt. They spend millions at their disposal just to deny me that (position). I understand that people are just scared because of the skeletons […]
“I also understood from the beginning […] that it was a major task. If you really believe in the need to reform, to discard this obsession about Malay supremacy and a blinkered view of Islam in the country (and) how we govern; then I know we are up in arms,” he said.
Should he never get the chance to lead the country, Anwar said he would be somewhat disappointed but was also willing to “retire” into academia, writing books, being a grandfather and tending to fruit trees.
When pressed if he still wanted to be the PM, Anwar said he was open to the possibility.
“Given the opportunity, I think the country needs reform, and I think I can play a small part in that process,” he said.
Open to working with Mahathir
As for Mahathir, Anwar said Harapan would continue to engage with him “when necessary” and did not close the door on working with the Bersatu chairperson.
Bersatu has quit Harapan and is now in government as part of Perikatan Nasional. Mahathir, however, wants to remain in the opposition as he is estranged with party president Muhyiddin Yassin, whom he accused of betraying him for the premiership.
Meanwhile, Anwar appeared to draw a line in the sand between him and Mahathir.
“I have not said anything nasty about him, please don’t equate his sort of vicious remarks to me,” he said at one point of the radio interview.
Asked if he would welcome the Langkawi MP into PKR, Anwar noted their political differences.
“He is set, certainly, with a Malay party.
“I was rejected (by him previously) because I believed in a multiracial party although there is Malay dominance in the party,” he answered.
In an interview with Sinar Harian last month, Mahathir explained that he did not want to make Anwar deputy prime minister as the latter was perceived by the Malays as too “liberal” for starting multi-racial PKR. – Malaysiakini