Calls for Anwar as PM by May.
DAP leaders have urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council to set a clear date for Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to step down.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said this is because the premier had entrusted the council with the task of deciding on his tenure.
Furthermore, he said Mahathir must also be aware of how the sentiments on the ground had shifted with regard to him remaining in office.
“His people, who monitor social media platforms, must have told him the rakyat are asking him to go gracefully.
“But since Mahathir has openly said he will abide by the council’s decision, they (the council) must politely accept his offer of resignation.
“Of course, it can’t happen pronto but setting a clear date will help not just with political stability but also boost investor confidence.
“The ball, as they say, is now in the presidential council’s court. We will wait to hear from them,” he added in a statement this afternoon.
Yesterday, Mahathir told reporters that he was prepared to relinquish his post with immediate effect if the presidential council wanted him to do so.
He said this in response to several PKR MPs suggesting that he should pass the baton to their party president Anwar Ibrahim in May this year.
Previously, Mahathir said he would remain at the helm until the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Kuala Lumpur in November.
Zaid: Nation cannot afford another political war
Similarly, Kelantan DAP chairperson Zaid Ibrahim said the “ball is in the presidential council’s court” and urged the coalition’s leaders to meet soon.
“The prime minister, when asked if he will step down, said he will do so if and when asked to do so by the council. The council has not given any response to this statement.
“This statement is a clear indication that the prime minister is an honourable man…
“He will not overstay, even a single day if not wanted by his coalition just as he will not take an extra mouthful when he is nearly satiated,” he added in reference to the 94-year-old premier’s advice on leading a healthy lifestyle.
Noting that misgivings still persisted despite Mahathir’s repeated assurances, Zaid claimed that some insiders believe the former would remain until 2022.
“This seems plausible when some ministers are openly expressing support for Mahathir to keep going. Naturally, questions persist if members of the council are willing to incur Mahathir’s displeasure to suggest otherwise,” he added in a statement.
Zaid also urged the leaders of PH’s four component parties to support Anwar as the next prime minister.
He said he is quietly confident that PH leaders will make the right decision.
“There are those who think Anwar will never be allowed to be the 8th prime minister. These people have doubts about the prime minister’s sincerity in wanting Anwar to succeed him.
“I hope this will not happen. The country is in bad shape and we cannot afford another round of political battle when we should be focusing on education and economy instead,” he added.
Urging the presidential council to address the transition of power issue, Zaid warned that unless the uncertainty is resolved, the economy would suffer.
“The people certainly do not want a repeat of the dark days of 1998 to recur.
“It is in this context that I urge the members of the presidential council to match the integrity and openness of the prime minister and tell us when exactly they will raise the question of the change-over date. The ball is in their court now.
“Pussyfooting on this critical issue will reflect their lack of confidence in leading the nation.
“I hope the media from now on, will stop asking the prime minister when he will step down and instead, ask the honourable members of the council to determine the date,” he added.
Meanwhile, Sungai Pelek assemblyperson Ronnie Liu has joined the call for a smooth transition of power that would see Anwar appointed as prime minister by May.
In a statement, the DAP leader said PH grassroots welcomed Dr Mahathir’s remarks yesterday that he was prepared to relinquish his post with immediate effect should the PH presidential council demands it.
“In the light of what is happening in the country lately, it is necessary for Dr Mahathir to pass the baton to Anwar.
“This transition of power should be done smoothly for the good of the nation, the people and Dr Mahathir and his family as well,” Liu said.
Liu alluded to closer public scrutiny of PH’s performance so far in calling for the transition to happen sooner rather than later.
“So far, he (Mahathir) has done his best but times have changed, and the people are more watchful with the way the government is managing the country’s affairs.
“This, therefore, requires a different way of handling the national agenda in order to ensure continuous support for the coalition,” said Liu, who noted that Mahathir had returned to power after the 14th general election, at a time when Anwar was still in prison.
Liu: The timing cannot be any better than now
He further pointed out how while then PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail could have filled the post, PH’s presidential council rallied their fullest support behind Mahathir as the seventh prime minister.
“Now that Anwar is free, and a full-fledged member of the Malaysian Parliament, the timing cannot be any better than now for Anwar to take over.
He added that a May 9 transition date, in conjunction with PH’s second year in power, would be an auspicious occasion.
“After all, the nation has waited long enough for Anwar to take over as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister and only Anwar can restore public confidence in the government,” said Liu.
Last night, Anwar, in response to Mahathir’s latest remarks, reiterated that the transition of power should be discussed and resolved amicably in PH or between the two of them.